Last year after the 2011-2012 NBA season, we gave Joakim Noah an B- for his performances that season. This year Noah lived up to those expectations and in fact exceed them.
This season Noah was the anchor of the team. With the Bulls plagued with injuries with Nate Robinson sick, Taj Gibson sick and Luol Deng out with spinal tap complications, along with Derrick Rose who didn’t come back this season (although most expected him to), Noah fought through his own injury of plantar fasciitis throughout the season and into the playoffs.
With no Derrick Rose at the beginning of the regular season, Noah played 40 minutes consecutively for every game, averaging 12 rebounds and 11 points per game. With the Captain, Kirk Hinrich, injured along with Rose, Noah took over the leadership role. As I like to say, Noah is the heart and soul of the team. The glue of the team and without him the Bulls would be a mess.
Even when the same injury in his foot crept up again midway February, Noah played through it. It did however get to a point where he had to miss three straight games but regardless Noah played with more passion and wanted to do anything he could do but later admitted that playing through it wasn’t a smart idea.
Gritting in the playoffs with one foot, Noah led the pack and won against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center in a decisive game seven. Still, going up against the Miami Heat proved to be too difficult for an unmanned team as the loathsome Heat squad eliminated the Bulls in game five.
Noah had plenty of highlights this season but i’ll name a few. First back in Feb. 28 2013. In a game against the Andrew Bynum-less Philadelphia 76ers, the Bulls went on to win the game 93-82 behind Noah’s spectacular triple double. Noah recored 23 points, 21 rebound and a career high 11 blocked shots. In that game he tied the Bulls record of for blocks in a regular season game, with the previous record set by none other than Artis Gilmore in 1977. Truly a monuments game.
The second highlight Noah had was in the playoffs in game seven against the Brooklyn Nets. In that game Noah clinched the series win with his 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots all in the 41 minutes he played. His performance lifted the Bulls into the second round of the playoffs.
In the off-season Noah will work with personal trainer Alex Perris to try to find a way so he dosen’t have a serious injury again. Almost every season he’s been in Chicago, Noah had a serious injury that either sidelined him for a short span of time or sat him out for more than a week.
As well Noah has the midrange jumper down but he needs to work on it and make it more consistent going into the next season. With Rose expected back next fall, Noah will have plenty of open opportunity to knock down shots but he needs to take advantage of them as it can prove to be crucial.
Overall, Noah had a fantastic season. It’s unfortunate the Bulls couldn’t make it any further in the playoffs, however with the team so banged up and hurt it might have been a good thing the Bulls season was done and over with so we can all forget such a bad season. It would’ve been nice to defeated the reigning champs, Miami Heat, but we’ll have to wait until next season for that to happen.
Final Grade: A-