The 2012-2013 season was a good one personally, for Joakim Noah. He was selected to be a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team after being over looked for the team the year before. That may have not been his greatest accomplishment of the season; he was also named to the all NBA Defensive First Team! Fans were very delighted to see Noah get some national attention. After all, we’ve watched this guy sweat and bleed Bulls basketball. So it was only right that Noah took over as the leader of the Bulls while his close friend and teammate Derrick Rose rehabbed from an ACL. It came natural to Noah, who has the heart, hustle, and muscle needed to excel at his new found roll. He’s not going to win any scoring titles, but he makes up for his lack of offensive skill by his remarkable all-around game. He recorded two triple doubles, a feat that’s rare among big men in this league. He proved to be one of the best passing big men in the NBA. His passion and love for basketball is contagious. Unfortunately, due to injury, Noah played in only 66 games. He won the hearts of many playing through severe pain during the end of the season and throughout the playoffs.
Noah’s stats won’t blow you away but he fills up a stat sheet! Some of what he does simply can’t be put in a statistical category. He averaged 10.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 assist. He was 15th in the league in minutes played. A stat some fans may be surprised with. Coach Thibs took heat among the media for his so-called abusive minute load. Nonetheless it was Noah himself who chose to play in his first All-Star game instead of resting, despite dealing with plantar fasciitis. He didn’t hold back, he may have been the only man playing defense. At one point he received a pass on the wing and proceeded to cross over Zach Randolph, who looked as if he was stuck in sand, for a lay-up.
Tough to choose from but on Feb. 28, 2013 Joakim Noah lost his damn mind! In a Bulls victory over the Sixers Noah tied a Bulls record with 11 blocks! Oh yea, and he added 23 points and a outrageous 21 rebounds, for one hell of a triple double. During a 55 second span Noah scored inside twice, hit a free throw and forced a turnover. He did this against a team that send him home from the playoffs the previous year, whose fan base cheered as he went down with a severely sprained his ankle.
In the second round of the playoffs the Bulls faced the despised Miami Heat. On the night Lebron james received his fourth MVP in front of his home crowd, Noah helped will the bulls to victory behind his all-around play. In the third quarter with his team down one, the 6ft 11 inch center got the defensive rebound and went coast to coast only to finish with his left hand in traffic! Noah finished with a very efficient 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field. He also contributed 11 rebounds and 4 assist to finish a +11 for the night.
Noah had a great season but his injury problems really affected his play towards the end of the season. We saw an obvious decline in his numbers that affected his totals on the year. He proved to be one of the toughest guys in the league and I guarantee no opponent looked forward to playing against him. However since Noah is what I like to call a rim runner (a player who runs hard from rim to rim), I don’t ever see him playing a full 82 game season without being bothered by plantar fasciitis. He has to play this way to be effective and to take advantage of his skill. This may be a problem considering the importance Noah is to this organization and the 11 plus million a year he’s making.
Final Grade A-