Joakim Noah is already an NBA star. He averaged a double-double in consecutive seasons from 2009-2011.
However, he has yet to make an All-Star team. In 2013, I believe he will make his first.
Nobody in the league has been as valuable to his team's defense as Noah has to the Chicago Bulls. With Derrick Rose out for a long time, the city of Chicago has latched on to Noah.
The Bulls allow just 91.5 points per game, the third fewest in the league, as Noah is posting career highs in blocks (2.1 per game) and steals (1.4 per game). Noah's value goes beyond statistics, however, as he consistently covers his teammates' shortcomings. No one knows Tom Thibodeau's defensive system better.
Noah has worked incredibly hard to make himself a better offensive player without sacrificing an inch on the defensive end. He is scoring 13.1 points, up 2.9 from a season ago, to go with his 10.6 rebounds.
He also is dishing out 4.5 assists per game, an astonishing mark for a center. He has even molded himself into a quality free-throw shooter, hitting 81.1 percent of his shots. In comparison, Noah shot 69.1 percent from the line in his rookie season.
With the 16-12 Bulls impressing the league early on without Rose, Noah will get a lot of the credit. With his point guard set to return sometime this season, Chicago figures to make a run in the postseason.
That will provide Noah with another platform to showcase his improved game.