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Tuesday's player to watch: Joakim Noah

AP Photo/Ross Franklin

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is averaging career-highs (so far) in points per game (13.5), assists per game (4.5), blocks per game (2.2) and (1.4) steals per game heading into today's game with the Houston Rockets.

Most Games With 10 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast
This Season

If all of Noah’s season averages hold, he will join Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett, David Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, and Bob Lanier as the only players to hit all of those benchmarks over an entire season.

Noah also leads the NBA with 10 games of at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Even with the best offensive start to his career, Noah’s calling card has always been on the defensive end.

Defensive win shares are an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player due to his defense (for more on this stat, click HERE).

Noah currently leads the NBA with a defensive win shares rating of 2.1.

This season, he has become irreplaceable for head coach Tom Thibodeau and is averaging a career high in minutes at nearly 40 per game.

The last power forward or center to average that many minutes per game for a season was Tim Duncan in 2001-02, a year in which he received the league’s MVP award.

Bulls With Joakim Noah On/Off Court
This Season

When Noah is off the court the Bulls are allowing 106.1 points per 100 possessions compared to 95.6 points when he is on the court.

No one has protected the paint better than Noah this season.

When he is on the court the Bulls allow 35.6 points in the paint per 48 minutes compared to the 46.5 points opponents score per 48 minutes when he is on the bench.

That is nearly an 11-point difference, which is the best among all starting power forwards and centers in the NBA.