What Happened to Joakim Noah?
*Photo via USA Today
This season was a definite turnaround for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Joakim Noah was out there on the court all season long, but he clearly was not himself,
especially in the playoffs. The 2014/15 season was one of the worst years in Noah’s
career, as expectations for Noah were high this year coming off his best season in
2013/14. This leaves everyone wondering, what happened to Noah this season to
lead to his poor performance?
For the first time in Noah’s career, he was playing on a minute restriction because of all
the injuries he has had in the past. The Bulls know that if they want Noah to last, they
would have to make sure he gets more rest, so this obviously explains why his numbers
were down from his previous years. However, his numbers were much lower than
people would expect.
The past, three years Noah played 36.8 minutes in 2012/13, 35.3 minutes in
2013/14 and he only played 30.6 minutes this season. Noah also missed 15 games
this season due to injuries and he only averaged 7.2 points per game, which is the
lowest point per game average for Noah since his second year in the NBA. The biggest
explanation for Noah’s decline in production is most definitely the injuries he had all
season, and the missed time hurt him in the playoffs, especially against the
Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Noah only averaged 5.2 points per game this postseason. However, against the Cavs
Noah barely averaged above two points per game. Noah was not himself and that was
evident. He did not seem to have his energy he usually had for the Bulls in the previous
seasons. His postseason struggles are part of why the Bulls lost to the Cavs in six
Noah was clearly dealing with injuries all season long. This carried into the playoffs and
the Bulls bench was not ready for the Cavs bench when Noah was off the court. Noah
seemed to be missing everything, from his post moves to wide open layups, nothing
was falling. He was getting beat off the glass a lot more than in previous seasons. This
season he averaged 9.6 rebounds which was also his lowest since his second year in
The Bulls need Noah healthy to make any kind of deep postseason run. He was clearly
not healthy and he will probably be on a minutes restriction next year as well. Noah has
been the Heart of the Bulls. The team feeds off of his energy and he clearly was not that
energetic heart of the Bulls he had been in the past. It will be interesting to see how
Noah responds next season, coming off one of his worst seasons in his career. One
thing's for sure, Noah will not give up and the City of Chicago will not give up on him