After a season in which he put up a double-double, Joakim Noah cashed in big time this offseason with a five-year, $60 million deal.
However, there are still several doubters out there who say the Chicago Bulls overpaid for the 6'11" center, who has career averages of 7.9 PPG and 7.9 RPG.
Nevertheless, here are five reasons, in no particular order, on why Joakim Noah will in fact live up to his five-year, $60 million extension.
Joakim Noah doesn't have the overmatching skills that will help him dominate opposing centers, however, his speed and hustle is what helps him overachieve.
Noah won't get plays called for him in the post, but his relentless energy helps him outrun opposing centers on the fastbreak. Noah is also a very good rebounder, as evident by his 11.0 RPG last season.
In 64 games played last season, Noah had 28 double-doubles; good for 22nd in the league despite missing 18 games.
New Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had words of praise for his starting center during Training Camp.
"His motor, to me, is very similar to Kevin Garnett," Thibodeau said of Noah. "It's high, high energy. I've never seen him low on energy. It doesn't matter if it's the start of practice, the end of practice, he's just always in motion. I felt that on the opposing team, when we were competing against him, he's one of those guys, he didn't take any plays off. He'll make four or five efforts on the same play."
Noah has a long way to go to reach a player like Garnett, but his relentless motor makes him a very valuable player since not many teams have players like Noah that can impact the game in multiple facets.
Noah has had several character issues during his time with the Bulls, from his verbal confrontation with an assistant coach during the 2007-2008 season, to a possession of marijuana charge on May of 2008.
However, Noah has learned from his mistakes and showed Bulls fans last season why his immature days are over.
At the age of 25, Noah has nowhere to go but up at this point. He will only improve the next few years, which makes the five-year investment very smart.
When the Bulls signed Ben Wallace to a four-year deal in the 2006 NBA offseason, many die-hard NBA fans knew that Wallace was truly on the downside of his career when he came to the Bulls at the age of 32.
Nevertheless, the Bulls gave Wallace a four-year, $60 million deal. That deal makes the five-year, $60 million extension Noah got look like a bargain.
With Noah at just 25 years old, he still has several more years left in his prime, and with six more seasons guaranteed with the Bulls, he will only improve as a basketball player, and a person.
After hearing some of the deals other centers around the NBA received, you, too, will realize that the Bulls made a smart move locking up Noah with a five-year, $60 million contract extension.
Brendan Haywood- six-year, $55 million
Andris Biedrins- five-year, $54 million(up to $62 million in incentives)
Most would agree that Joakim Noah brings much more to the table than the two centers who got similar deals.
With Haywood getting a six-year, $55 million, the market for centers should have gotten more expensive.
However, with Noah signing for a five-year, $60 million deal makes the deal a bargain, especially considering that a player like Haywood got a massive contract like that. Haywood might not even be the starting center on the Mavericks, with Tyson Chandler in the fold.
With the markets for centers around the NBA at an all-time high, getting Noah at a five-year, $60 million clip is a great deal for the Bulls.
Noah is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls. His passionate play on the court, coupled with his vocal leadership, gives him the respect of his teammates in the locker room.
During the Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls for Joakim Noah talks, former Bulls great, Scottie Pippen, said he would have had a tough time giving Noah in a deal for Anthony because of Noah's intangibles.
"I would definitely think about it very hard," Pippen said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "But I don't know ... if I'm a GM, I don't know that I could pull the trigger based on Carmelo's ... sort of what he's doing now. Based on his reputation, I'd probably have to stay with Joakim because you know that this kid is going to come out and play night in and night out. There's no excuses. He's a great teammate. That's what you want."
Getting rid of Noah would hurt the Bulls team chemistry since Noah is clearly the team's vocal leader. As Pippen points out, Noah is also a great teammate. His teammates know he will give 100 percent night in, night out, so it shows a precedent that they can't slack off since one of the best players on the team is giving it his all. The on-court swagger Noah brings to the Bulls doesn't hurt, either.
Losing the heart and soul of your basketball team would lead to problems beyond the basketball court. Locking Noah up for five more years will give the Bulls core of players time to grow with each other and try to compete for titles.
If the Chicago Bulls are going to beat the Miami Heat in a playoff series, much less a game, they will need their 6'11" big man in the paint.
Although the Heat have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, their only big man over 7' is Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who's been regulated to stand still jump shooting and is a below average defender at this point in his career.
As of now, the Heat are projected to have Chris Bosh, 6'11", at power forward, with Joel Anthony, 6'9", in the middle.
Joakim Noah is listed at 6'11", however, his athleticism and wing-span make him much bigger. Noah has made several strides on his offensive game, but with the lack of size the Heat have, a simple way to score for the Bulls would be simply dumping the ball to Noah and letting him back down the smaller Heat players.
Noah would be the ruler of the painted area in a Bulls versus Heat game, with his counterparts being Joel Anthony and Ilgauskas.
The Bulls paid Noah $60 million over five seasons, a deal that would look very smart if the Bulls are able to get by the Heat in a playoff matchup the next few years.
Win or lose against the Heat, the Bulls would have a 0 percent chance at beating the Miami Heat without Joakim Noah.