Ranking Joakim Noah's 10 Best Performances for the Chicago Bulls This Season

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Ranking Joakim Noah's 10 Best Performances for the Chicago Bulls This Season
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Cut two heads off the Chicago Bulls' "Big Three" and the body will flail around awhile before sending up the white flag, right?

Derrick Rose, KO'd by an MCL tear. Luol Deng, banished to Cleveland.

Joakim Noah? Coming off a week in which he recorded two triple-doubles, the seventh-year center is thriving. As the lone remaining star in the Second City, Noah has the Bulls overachieving their way to one of the best records in the NBA (22-10) since January 1.

Already a double-double machine with 31 in 60 games—tied with Chris Paul and David Lee for ninth-most in the NBA—Noah has added a third legitimate skill to his arsenal:

That number now stands at 22.

Apologies to Marc Gasol, Kevin Love (who throws a mean full-court pass) and Noah's sensei, Brad Miller, but Jo may be the best passing big man since Vlade Divac.

In the last month, Noah has matched or set a number of assist records concerning the center position.

  • February 19: Became the first center to notch 13 assists in a single game since Divac did it back in the 1995-96 season, per Basketball-Reference.com.
  • March 2: Recorded 14 assists, most by a center in a single game since Sam Lacey did so 35 years ago.
  • March 5: Tied Brad Miller for the second-most games of at least 10 assists in a season since 1985-86 with five. Divac's nine in 2003-04 are the most.

Then there's this:

And the Bulls still have 20 games to play.

The MVP award has always been a two-horse race between Kevin Durant and LeBron James, but there are still five spots on the ballot. Some people are starting to believe Noah deserves one of them:

 

 

With that in mind, let us pay homage to the hardest working player in the NBA by reliving his 10 best games of this three-quarters-finished season. Jo's stat line forms the basis for assessment, but extra weight was given to critical late-game plays, as were his individual on/off numbers.

Note: All stats and recaps courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise noted

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