Noah's Arc: A Star In The Making

Taurean BaxterContributor IAugust 11, 2010

CHICAGO - APRIL 25: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls puts up a shot over Antawn Jamison #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 25, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cavaliers defeated the Bulls 121-98. 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

My oh my, how the culture has changed in Chicago. The Bulls have put together a new regime featuring talented young players hungry to continue the winning ways of a proud franchise. At the "center" of that young core is 25 year old Joakim Noah. Derrick Rose is indeed the their most talented player, but Noah is their emotional leader.

It is the nature of Joakim Noah to lead. His hustle plays and non-stop motor gives him a dynamic unlike most young NBA stars. Yes, I said star. Maybe not at this very moment, but I believe that he is on track to becoming a legitimate one. He is beginning to get acclimated to the NBA game.

We all remember the havoc he wreaked in his collegiate career. With that being said, we're also aware that the NBA is a much meaner monster. He has gradually grown into his 6'11" frame, and has become a solid player in the process. Now, approaching his fourth season, I believe he is ready to take off. He will be more than the up and down hustle type player we've come to know.

I believe so because the kid is never satisfied. This is a concept that some 10 year vets have yet to grasp. The workman-like attitude of Noah is his pedigree. His father and grandfather were both champion professional athletes. He, himself, won two national titles. But for any aspiring pro baller, it's the NBA championship that is the big kahuna. Young Noah has the competitive fire to fight for the big prize, and will contribute to the Bulls in ways not seen before.

The addition of Carlos Boozer allows him to operate in open space; and as a result, his scoring will go up. Having that luxury, his offensive game will become more refined and he'll be more efficient in the half court. Particularly, when it comes to post up opportunities. With Boozer occupying the opposite side of the floor, Noah will have more chances to create around the basket.

From an athletic perspective, he has always been able to play at a high level; especially, on the defensive end. But teams will have to honor him defensively now that he has a skilled frontcourt mate on board. He's the kind of player coaches love. He plays the game with passion, but he is accountable. The young man realizes when he makes a mistake. Maturity, or a lack thereof, is often the difference between being good and truly being great. He carries himself in a mature manner, and he certainly wants to be great. I'd say, that's a great formula for success in the future of him and his team.

Coach Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls organization have a winner in Joakim Noah. A guy who revels in the work that goes into being a successful pro. I'm sure he's heard many stories of how his father and grandfather raised their level of play to achieve their ultimate goals; and that you must constantly work to be successful. The work of Noah continues, but I expect him to make great strides this coming season.

With the defensive schemes of Thibodeau and the balanced attack that they present, the Bulls should be exciting to watch. Their mix of young talent and veteran leadership gives them much to look forward to. One guy who will surely make his impression is their starting center. One of the best young players in the NBA, Joakim Noah is primed to play his best basketball yet.