The Chicago Bulls have been one of the NBA’s biggest surprises this season, especially due to the injury suffered by Derrick Rose that ended his season very early. What has been the reason for Chicago’s impressive play without their superstar? Quite simply it comes down to the leadership, fire, heart, and overall play of Joakim Noah.
Does Joakim Noah deserve to be mentioned among the names for the MVP award?
Noah has played in 64 regular season games for the Bulls so far, averaging 12.4 points, 11.3 assists, and 5.0 assists per game. Those numbers are absolutely ridiculous, especially with the defense that Noah has been playing all season. The Bulls would be one of the worst teams in the NBA without their star center.
It appeared as if the Chicago Bulls had cashed in on their season when they traded Luol Deng to the Cavaliers. Most analysts viewed the trade as the Bulls beginning a rebuilding stage with the injury issues that Derrick Rose has had for the past couple of years. Noah took the trade as a sign that he needed to step up and play with more heart so that the season wasn’t wasted. Fortunately for the Bulls, the team saw Noah’s improved play and decided to step their game up as well.
So the question still remains, whether or not Joakim Noah should be a candidate for the NBA’s MVP award. The simple answer is that he definitely deserves to be in the conversation. Will he win the award when everything is said and done? No. Both LeBron James and Kevin Durant are ahead in the MVP race, but it is hard to say that there is anyone “more valuable” to his team than Noah has been.
There is no doubt that Joakim Noah has been the one that has powered the Chicago Bulls to do incredible things without their star player. Noah has helped make the Bulls into an even more physical team than they have been in the past couple of years, and has embraced the role of being a team leader. He has gotten into trouble for being more outspoken than he should be at times, but for the most part has kept himself under control.
Overall, this is a very interesting question that many people will give different answers to. The fact of the matter is that Joakim Noah is the most valuable player to a team in the NBA. If the Bulls didn’t have him, they would be headed for one of the top lottery draft picks this offseason. Instead, they are battling for the third overall playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.