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Experience: 5 Seasons
Whom He'll Replace: Roy Hibbert, Center
With Derrick Rose sidelined by a devastating torn ACL, the Chicago Bulls need their leaders to step up in full force. As the most vocal and emotionally wild player on the roster, expect center Joakim Noah to be the first to take action.
Also, expect him to make his first career All-Star Game appearance.
Prior to falling victim to a sprained left ankle, Noah was on pace for a breakout postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers. In Game 1, the former Florida Gator put up 12 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.
Game 2 proved how far his once severely flawed offensive game has come, as Noah dropped 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and a steal on 10-of-11 shooting. For those believing that performance was simply a fluke, it was not.
Noah's mid-range game may not be pretty, but it is more than effective. He was in the midst of proving that during Game 3 before suffering the injury.
The significant developments in Noah's game that will lead him to an All-Star selection can be described with one word: discipline.
Noah averaged 10.2 points per game on just 7.7 shot attempts per game. He also committed just 2.5 fouls per game after averaging at least 3.0 in three consecutive seasons.
As 2012-13 rolls around, expect Noah to take on a much larger role on offense. He and Nate Robinson are developing a great rapport in training camp and should work the high-low game well, thus leading to Noah finishing around the basket.
An average of 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game are projected expectations. With all due respect to Greg Monroe, the fact that Noah will be carrying a postseason team gets him the nod.
2011-12 Season Averages
19.95 PER, 10.2 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 74.8% FT