Bulls center Joakim Noah will be named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year at a press conference on Monday, according to a report from CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam that was confirmed by the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson. Noah becomes the second player in franchise history to win the award, joining Michael Jordan in 1987-88.
Noah has been the linchpin of the Bulls' elite defense for several years now, and after last season's bout of plantar fasciitis ruined his chances of winning the award, a mostly healthy 2013-14 campaign helped him secure the award this year.
Noah started the year slow as he recovered from a groin injury suffered in preseason, and it looked like the award was Roy Hibbert's to lose after the first couple of months. But as Hibbert and the Pacers fell off as the season went on, Noah and the Bulls only got stronger.
Following the Luol Deng trade, the Bulls allowed just 95.8 points per 100 possessions when Noah was on the floor, according to NBA.com's stats page. When Noah was on the bench, the Bulls allowed 104.0 points per 100 possessions. Noah's ability to defend pick-and-roll, protect the paint and rebound all played a major factor in the Bulls' superb defense.
Noah is totally deserving of this award, and it's great to see all of his hard work over the years pay off. Never in a million years did I think Noah would turn into the beast he is when the Bulls drafted him in 2007.
This announcement comes at a good time for Noah, who struggled against Nene and the Wizards in a Game 1 defeat on Sunday after the loss of his longtime mentor last week. Hopefully Noah will have an extra chip on his shoulder in Game 2, and I'm expecting a big performance.