Chicago Bulls: 15 best defenders of all-time

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bulls
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

2. player. 24. . Center. 2007-2016. Joakim Noah

The primary reason that Joakim Noah ranks above Michael Jordan on this list is positional value.

Even the best guard defenders cannot impact a game defensively as a center can. Protecting the rim, the location of the most valuable shots in the game, makes the center position the most crucial defensively.

Joakim Noah had the most impact there of any center in franchise history.

The 6-11 Noah was a part of two National Championship teams at the University of Florida, forming a devastating frontcourt alongside Al Horford.

He was the ninth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and played his first nine seasons with the Chicago Bulls, starting slightly more than half of his games in his first two seasons before becoming the full-time starting center in 2010.

While Noah certainly racked up his fair share of blocks — averaging 1.4 blocks per game over his nine seasons in Chicago — he was even more effective at deterring shots at the rim, forcing opponents to shoot less-efficient mid-range shots or rushed floaters.

His 3.6 percent block percentage is second in team history, but metric tracking blocks + shots altered might boost Noah into the pantheon of rim protectors.

Noah elevated the Bulls defensively when he was on the court, especially after Tom Thibodeau took over at coach and truly unleashed Noah on the league.

His Defensive Plus-Minus of 4.1 is the second-best in franchise history, and he provided the anchor for numerous perimeter players — Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler — to excel knowing he would clean things up behind them.

Noah won Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, one of just two players to do so wearing a Bulls jersey (Jordan in 1988). He was twice an All-Defensive First Team selection and added a second-team nod as well.

From his eclectic family history, to colorful vocabulary, to trademark hair, Joakim Noah made his mark in a number of ways on Bulls lore, but none more so than his defensive play on the court.