With another unbelievable performance on Sunday on national television, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is proving that his name belongs in the MVP conversation. It’s not that he is going to win the MVP, and he shouldn’t, but it is hard to name another player that’s more important to his team and Noah deserves that recognition.
Noah is hands down one of the hardest working players in the league. His relentless work ethic defines exactly what the Chicago Bulls are; a tough, gritty, bully that will grind the opposition down to nothing. His numbers continue to improve every season and he is currently playing the best basketball of his career, literally doing it all for the Bulls. Noah is averaging 12 points, 11.3 rebounds and nearly five assists per game while shooting just under 50 percent. He also has emerged to become one of the front runners for Defensive Player of the Year.
When it comes to the Most Valuable Player award, Noah’s value to the Bulls is skyrocketing through the roof. He appears to be strong-arming his team down the stretch. Even after the loss of Derrick Rose and the tough times that Chicago has been faced with, they still appear to be the leading candidate to grab the third seed of the Eastern Conference right behind the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat.
A Noah led Chicago team is not who anyone wants to see in the playoffs. The Bulls will wear and tear down their opponent whether or not they win the series or not. For a team that is looking to win a championship, the Bulls will make that already long road even longer, and a lot more painful. Coach Tom Thibodeau has once again done wonders with this team and deserves the Coach of the Year award.
Noah’s leadership, energy and will to win have driven the Chicago Bulls further than anyone could have imagined, and Sunday was just another highlight of their underrated season. The bulls were able to knock off the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in overtime. Noah had 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, but what was most impressive was his timely defense. Whether it’s defending the pick and roll, defending the isolation, fronting a big, staying with a guard, boxing out or simply giving up his body for loose balls, Chicago’s defensive anchor is involved in every single play – proving against the league’s best team that he belongs in the conversation for MVP.
With 31 double-doubles, Noah ranks 10th in the entire NBA. But even more impressive are his three triple-doubles. That ties Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry for second in the NBA, trailing only Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson who has four. A center getting even one triple double in a season is a rare occurrence, but Noah’s new “point/center” approach has changed the way defenses have to defend the Bulls. Since his rookie season in 2007-2008, his assists and increased every season. He averaged 5.8 assists over the months of January and February, and is averaging an astound eight per game in the Month of March.
Regardless of people’s opinions of the man, because there are plenty of them, it is hard to deny just how great Joakim Noah has become. His presence is always felt and his voice is always heard. He plays with no fear and isn’t afraid to let people know how he feels, making him the perfect face of the Chicago Bulls. But his numbers alone speak for themselves, and that’s why Joakim Noah belongs in the MVP conversation.
Opinion by Rich Peters
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