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Joakim Noah: One of NBA’s Most Improved Stars

This season the NBA’s Central division Chicago Bulls have endured injuries to key players such as Derrick Rose and a trade of Luol Deng who was liked by both fans and players.

One constant however on the Bulls this season has been the play of Joakim Noah. The Bulls big man has improved all season and more so than any other star in the NBA.

Noah has played close to seven full seasons in the NBA. However, he has evolved into one of the best big man in the NBA in just this season.

Prior to this season, he was the second, third or even fourth fiddle behind Rose and Deng. However, with both those stars out of the Chicago lineup Noah has become the man. He is the lifeline for Chicago, its heart and soul. Noah is Mr. Chicago.

He remains the still very active and pesky pest on the court on defense, which has him on a short-list for Defensive Player of the Year honors.

One huge change in Noah this year is he has become a force on both ends of the court. Known since he joined the NBA as a defensive stopper, Noah has shown this season his offensive prowess.

Noah has not changed the way he plays with his relentless energy still the same, but he has become a complete player.

The Bulls superstar is averaging 12.3 points, 11.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game thus far in the season.

If he can keep these number through the final ten games of the season, he would become the NBA’s fourth player in history to average at least 12 points, 11 boards, 5 assists, 1.5 blocks and one steal over an entire season. He would then join the likes of Kevin Garnett, Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Three names any player in the NBA would be like to see his name next to.

Noah blocks shots and rebounds as big men are supposed to. However, big men are not supposed to be distributing the ball. However, Noah leads his team in assists this season.

In just this season, Noah has handed out 10 assists in six games, which has placed him with only two other NBA players.

Going back to 1985, on two other NBA centers have has 5 games of 10-plus assists in one season – Brad Miller and Vlade Divac.

While the two names are not the biggest in the NBA, they are the ONLY two because centers are not doing what Mr. Noah has been doing this season.

Lest we forget, Noah is one of the top defenders in the league and the best on the second best defensive unit in the league. He can defend in the paint and outside.

Noah is the league’s only player with a defensive rating less than 97 while playing an average of more than 27 minutes.

He could become the first player since Josh Smith and Dwight Howard in 2011 to end a season under 97 in defensive rating while playing over 34 minutes per game. Only four players since 2004 have accomplished that Smith, Howard, Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan.

Chicago fans now hope Rose will return to his superstar status and the team can sign or draft another star or two to join Noah and the rest of the Bulls so they can make a run for an NBA title in the coming years.

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