On Monday, word spread that Joakim Noah had been named the NBA’s 2014 Defensive Player of the Year. The award is the result of a career year for the Chicago Bulls center. On the season, Noah recorded career highs in points per game, rebounds, assists and blocks. Regarding league averages, he ranked sixth for total rebounds per game and 11th in blocks per game.
The selection puts Noah in rarified air. He is only the second Chicago Bull to win Defensive Player of the Year – Michael Jordan captured the award during the 1987-88 season. Noah is also the second Florida Gator alumnus to collect an NBA individual achievement award – Mike Miller won Sixth Man of the Year in 2006.
Considering his Bulls lost their opening home playoff game to the Wizards on Sunday, the announcement comes at a bittersweet time for Noah – the consummate team-first player. Nevertheless, it is a fitting achievement, rewarding such an exemplary season by Chicago’s emotional leader.