Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah truly can do it all. He can rebound, defend the rim, pass and score. He can shoot amazingly awkward free throws. He's tied for the league lead in triple-doubles. He can turn his hands into pistols. He can even spawn a doppelganger to sit in the crowd and watch him dominate.
Not only has he been the best center in the league this season, he might also be a secret member of the X-Men.
And if you need another example of just how versatile Noah has become, take a look at the elite club he joined on Friday night when he reached the 400-assist plateau in a win over the Detroit Pistons, per the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson:
It pretty much goes without saying that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are the two greatest players in Bulls history; if you are mentioned in the same sentence with those two for anything, you are doing something right.
The other six players on that list are Kevin Garnett (six times), Sam Lacey (three times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Dwyane Wade, Alex English and Alvan Adams. Lacey and Adams are the only players on that list who aren't either active or in the Hall of Fame.
The list essentially breaks down into two types of players: freakishly athletic wing players who can defend and elite passing bigs.
While it's not rare for a center to put together a 100-block campaign—Noah now has four such seasons—reaching the 400-assist plateau is extremely rare. Per Bulls radio producer Jeff Mangurten, Noah has become only the eighth center in league history to surpass that mark:
Of course, four guys on that list (Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wes Unseld) are unquestioned legends. But they had a crucial advantage in putting up 400-assist seasons, as NBA offenses used to operate out of the post far more often in their day.
In fact, Vlade Divac was the only player to register 400 assists in a season since the 1970s, until Noah.
The Chicago big man has been working feverishly to improve his all-around game. Per the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley, Noah said, "I feel real comfortable making plays for my teammates, being aggressive when I have to, just taking it day-by-day, trying to get better in every aspect of my game."
While Noah may not be able to supplant LeBron James and Kevin Durant in the MVP race, he might be the third-best player in the league this season. He has been magnificent in 2013-14, and it would appear that he's only getting better.
All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
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