Joakim Noah, worst memory for the Knicks but perfect example of Thibodeau’s work

Knicks fans may have the worst memories of Joakim Noah, but Tom Thibodeau has undoubtedly had the best, leading his development into one of the best big defensive players in the league and a central point when Derrick Rose was out.

Joakim Noah was drafted into the Chicago Bulls in 2007 with the ninth choice and entered the league as a little head case. His teammates voted unanimously for his suspension following a clash with coach Ron Adams in his beginner season.

However, Joakim Noah set his attitude and looked like a young critical piece for the Bulls in his 2nd and 3rd season in the league, averaging 8.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. He still had maturity problems, and some even considered Noah to be a limiting bust before his appearance in the national limelight during the 2009 NBA playoffs.

However, NBA executives considered Noah an “energetic role player”, not a player with the potential to be one of the best big names in the league.

These concerns disappeared when Tom Thibodeau hired the Bulls and selected Noah as a vital gear in his coaching philosophy. The two established a healthy relationship and Thibodeau certainly got the most out of Noah in defense and offense.

During the 2010-11 and 2011-12 NBA seasons, where the Bulls finished with the best record in the league, Joakim Noah consolidated his role as a starting point and defensive anchor. He made significant leaps in his PER and Thibodeau used his passing skills in the offense.

The genius of Thibodeau’s coach, concerning the development of Noah, was illuminated during the seasons 2012-13 and 2013-14. Noah was selected for the All-Star team in both seasons and won the defender of the year 2014. Indeed, Noah’s 2013-14 year was so spectacular that he finished 4th in the MVP vote.

Noah prospered as a defender under Thibodeau’s defensive system, where the great was forced to exit the perimeter, cut the passage lanes and stop the penetration. He had a whopping 6.6 defensive actions in the 2013-14 season and a 3.6 plus-minus high defensive box. Thibodeau had transformed an “energetic role player” into the best defensive big in the league.

The two were simply a perfect match. Noah was the perfect great for Thibodeau’s defense, and he was just as on fire and committed to winning as Thibodeau. Their correspondent personalities only improved Thibodeau’s trust in his great man and created a competitive and winning atmosphere in Chicago despite not having Derrick Rose.