Without Joakim Noah, the Bulls may have not reached the playoffs, let alone capture a top-four seed. Soon, the Chicago big man will be receiving deserved recognition for his stellar play throughout the season. Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago first reported that Noah will be named Defensive Player of the Year, followed by Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson’s confirmation:
Bulls to make a major announcement later today. Hearing Jo won Defensive Player of the Year.
— Aggrey Sam (@CSNBullsInsider) April 21, 2014
Confirming Noah will be named Defensive Player of Year. @CSNBullsInsider first. Noah is 2nd DPOY in franchise history, joining MJ in 88.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 21, 2014
The 6-11 center led his team to the second-best rank in defensive efficiency and emerged as the heart of the Bulls following Derrick Rose‘s season-ending injury and the departure of Luol Deng in January. He ranked No. 1 in both Defensive Rating at 95.8 and Defensive Win Shares at 6.6.
Dating back to 1982-1983, the birth-season of the award, Noah will become the eleventh center to take home the hardware and the second in Bulls’ franchise history. Michael Jordan received the honor in the 1987-1988 season.
Noah’s versatility on the defensive end – both interior and perimeter-wise – is unmatched. He provides energy on the court and transformed his squad into the league’s stingiest defense group. In 80 games this season, the 29-year-old averaged 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals.