The Chicago Bulls 2012-2013 campaign has officially come to a close. Now weeks removed from the end of the season, it’s time to take a look back at the performances of the members of this Bulls squad and brief look ahead at the future. The following is the first part of a series of nine posts detailing this year’s squad. Each player is assigned a season grade based off of their performance on general preseason expectations.
Name: Joakim Noah
Height/Weight: 6’11” / 232 lbs
NBA Seasons: 6
Regular Season Stats: 66 games, 11.9 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.1 bpg, 48.1 FG%, 75.1 FT%
Post-Season Stats: 12 games, 10.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.2 bpg, 43.7 FG%, 64.1 FT%
Season Grade: A-
In terms of points and rebounds output Noah’s season ended up being what most people expected it to be. However he outperformed most people’s expectations of him in just about every other regard. In terms of individual play he made large strides in just about every other aspect. One immediately noticeable improvement was with Noah’s passing game as he seemed to benefit from playing with several players skilled at cutting to the rim (ex: Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Marco Belinelli, etc.). In terms of assists, Noah posted a career high 4.0 apg which, had he played four more games on the season, would have tied him with Marc Gasol for most assists per game from a big man in the league. The biggest improvement was seen on defense where Noah posted career highs in both blocks and steals per game. Noah’s improvement on defense had him in contention for defensive player of the year for most of the year until injuries derailed him towards the end of the season. Overall, Noah’s play nabbed him his first selection to an NBA All-Star team.
More importantly Noah ultimately helped lead this rag-tag Bulls team to surpass league expectations. Few had Chicago pegged to be fighting for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference let alone get a solid hold on the fifth seed. Noah’s ability to lead and energize helped this team get behind Tom Thibodeau’s message that Chicago had enough to win.
Noah’s future is set in stone as he is currently signed with the Bulls through the 2015-2016 season. As for now Noah should take full advantage of vacation to rest his injured foot. Hopefully Noah will also look to use this offseason to work with trainers to improve his body’s strength and conditioning to avoid one of the various lower body injuries that have plagued him these past three seasons, particularly with his foot and ankle. Doing so could be crucial in any future title runs the Bulls look to make.