Why Joakim Noah Is the Defensive Player of the Year

Check out these outstanding moments from the Bulls star’s career year.

Joakim Noah drives to the basket past the Miami Heat's Chris Andersen.   Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune

In case you missed it—though how could you have—Joakim Noah was awarded Defensive Player of the Year honors for the 2013-2014 season yesterday. This year Noah upped his game as the leader of the Bulls stingy defense, an impressive feat considering the losses of Derrick Rose to injury and Luol Deng via trade—and the additions of not much else.

Noah finished the 2013-2014 regular season campaign averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 blocks and nearly one steal per game, improvements in most categories. Yeah, numbers don’t lie, but to really get the full force of Noah’s dominant seventh season in the NBA, you’ve got to see his game in motion.

So in case you’ve forgotten, or you merely want to bask in the post-awards glow, here are the elements—the tangibles and the intangibles—that add up to make Joakim Noah the 2013-2014 Defensive Player of the Year.

The Tangibles

Time and time again Noah has proven that he has the size, strength, and grit to man-up anyone in the low block, like this rejection of the Heat’s Chris Bosh.

Not today, Chris. Photo: Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune

Or this impending shutdown of the Wizards’s Nenê.

Setting up up for a swat. Photo: Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune

But he also has the mobility to track down any speedy guards who enter his paint, such as Pacers swingman Paul George:

I don’t think so. Photo: Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune

And his quick hands and wingspan lead to steals and points off turnovers.

I’ll take that. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

The Intangibles

The most important aspects of Joakim Noah’s game don’t show up on the stat sheet. He’s lauded for the rebounds, blocks, and steals he puts up on a nightly basis, but just as important is the clapping, the screaming, and the diving that makes up a large portion of his on-court presence.

Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune

Noah is a true competitor, and his reputation as one of the most intense players in the game is infectious and unmatched league-wide.

Family support keeps him going strong, as seen in this Heat-Bulls courtside interview with Joakim’s father (and former tennis pro) Yannick Noah. You can also see that the intensity might be genetic:

But really, just like us Chicagoans, Joakim Noah’s main motivation this year has to be his quiet hatred of April snow:

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