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The Reason To Love Joakim Noah, In One Meaningless Play

Here's a play from the end of of last night's Bulls-Warriors game that's really nothing special at all. The game itself wasn't all that interesting—the ever-overmatched Bulls hung around for as long as they could, scrapping out points like a mid-major college team, before eventually being overwhelmed in the fourth quarter—and by the time this play happened, the game was basically done. But this play, this one boring sequence at the end of yet another hard-fought Bulls loss, shows you exactly what's so great about Joakim Noah.

Noah doesn't do anything spectacular on this play, but he does everything he possibly could do, and he does it all perfectly. After getting his hands on the loose ball, Noah suddenly goes into point-guard mode and leads the break up the left side of the floor. Tony Snell, a rookie, is a little confused about where he's supposed to go as he tracks up the court with Noah. So Noah points him toward the corner, kicks the ball to him, and then immediately snaps back into big-man mode. He sets a solid screen that gets Snell an open three before rolling to the rim, ready to clean the glass if need be. Again, this is just one boring, well-executed sequence, but it's worth pointing out because it's the kind of thing Noah does every single game, multiple times.


You may not have noticed—because I mean who the hell wants to watch the depressing-ass Bulls all the time?—but when Derrick Rose isn't on the court, Joakim Noah becomes the focal point of the Bulls' offense. That's kind of incredible, seeing as how Noah doesn't really possess an offensive repertoire and moves with the fluidity of an angry giraffe. And yet there he is, every game, dishing assists and running the Bulls' offense from the high post. He's averaging 11 rebounds, 11 points, and four assists per game on the year. In January, he's averaging nearly six assists per game, and he's notched five or more assists 18 times this season. Meanwhile, he's still rebounding and blocking shots and being one of the best defensive centers in the league.

Noah finished with seven points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists last night. He skipped a handful of perfect bounce passes to Taj Gibson from the high post, he led his team on the fast break after snatching rebounds off the glass, he set perfect screens, and he played his ass off on defense. He did everything he could do for his team, over and over again, perfectly.

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