Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah filled up the box score in Sunday's win over the Miami Heat, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks. In so doing, Noah became the first Bulls player to produce a 20-10-5-5 game since Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen accomplished the feat in a game during the 1995-96 season, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Despite being without the services of Derrick Rose for much of the season, the Bulls have managed to climb all the way up to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings at 35-28, with Noah playing a central role in their continued success. In addition to providing needed muscle in the post for the Bulls with a team-leading 11.3 rebounds per game, Noah ranks first on the team in total assists with 294 on the season.
Noah's adeptness as a passer is an exceptionally rare trait for a big man. In fact, if Noah finishes the season as his team's leader in assists, he would become the first true center to turn the trick since the San Antonio Spurs' David Robinson did the same during the 1993-94 campaign.
Though they play different positions, the parallels between Noah and Pippen are perhaps more intriguing. Like Pippen, Noah boasts a rather diverse skill set for a bigger player, and the 6'11" center ranks directly behind Pippen on the franchise's triple-double list, with six such outings. Pippen's 15 career triple-doubles trail only Michael Jordan's 28.
Many of Pippen's triple-doubles came during the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, when the Bulls were largely without the services of their best player while Jordan pursued a baseball career. Noah has similarly produced career-best numbers with Rose out of commission for the majority of the last two seasons, cementing himself as a dark horse candidate for the MVP award.