Joakim Noah Adds to Career Year with Triple-Double vs. Celtics

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls grabs a rebound away from Chris Wilcox #44 of the Boston Celtics at the United Center on December 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls continue to prove they can be a playoff basketball team with or without Derrick Rose, and a ton of the credit has to go to Joakim Noah in his career year.

Chicago's wild man put together a triple-double in Chicago's 100-89 win over the Boston Celtics, totaling 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists over the course of just 31 minutes.

A lot of Chicago's recent hot streak, winning eight of their past 11 games, is due to the hot shooting of Marco Belinelli, who was inserted into the starting lineup after an injury took Rip Hamilton out.

However, it can't be overlooked that Joakim Noah has been putting together a campaign that should allot him a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, whether it be in the starting lineup, thanks to the fans or the reserves, thanks to the coach votes.

Noah's triple-double isn't necessarily unexpected, he had one against the Milwaukee Bucks last season when he put up 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but it's always surprising to see a big fellow notch a triple-double.

This one seemed more meaningful than the last, however.

Joakim Noah records another triple double. 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. The All-Star case is getting stronger each day.

— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) December 19, 2012


Even if he wears his hair in a bun, he was the coolest guy in Chicago after that trip-dub.

As far as the entire season goes, Noah has made a case to be considered one of the best all-around centers in the NBA.

He's not scoring incredibly efficiently, but he's been forced to take on a bigger load with Rose out, scoring just over 13 points per game on 48 percent from the field. Everywhere else, however, he's been excellent.

He's every bit the hustler and rebounder that Anderson Varejao can be, but he's a better defender  and plays a more important role for a much better basketball team.

As far as the defensive glamour stats go, Noah is averaging career highs in either category. His 2.2 blocks per game put him at seventh in the NBA, while getting 1.4 steals as well.

What's been most impressive has been his ability to pass this season. His 4.3 assists per game may not sound like a dominant collection of dimes, but he's leading every other center, including Marc Gasol who is widely considered to be the league's best passing big man.

So long as the Bulls continue to get this amazing effort from Joakim Noah night in and night out, they're going to make the playoffs.

If they're able to add Derrick Rose on top of it all, they'll have a guy who can score to add to a group of guys who have been a defensive juggernaut over the course of the first six weeks of the season.

There's no way to tell how well the Bulls will play once Rose returns, but if Noah and company continue to put for the effort, they're definitely going to be a dangerous team come playoff time.