Noah thanks coach Thibodeau and former mentor who passed away last week.
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year after an impressive season thus far.
Noah is in the midst of the best season of his career as he averaged 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game during the regular season.
However, he was unable to prevent the Bulls from slipping to a one-game deficit in their first-round playoff series against the Washington Wizards on Sunday and will undoubtedly be fully focused on helping them bounce back from the loss.
“This is very humbling to be in this situation right now,” Noah said at a news conference.
Noah also took time to thank coach Tom Thibodeau conceding, “Without your system, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Aside from serving as the defensive anchor of Thibodeau’s team, the 29-year-old has become a bigger leader in the absence of the injured Derrick Rose and after Luol Deng was traded.
His production has increased given the time he now has with the ball in his hands, and naturally his attitude and character makes me a fans favourite in Chicago.
Thibodeau believes that his star center has improved year on year and praised his professionalism and determination to get better.
Noah picked up 100 first-place votes and earned 555 of a possible 1,125 points with each first place vote worth five points, a second-place vote worth three and a third-place vote worth one point.
Indiana Pacers star Roy HIbbert and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan finished in second and third place respectively, while Noah becomes the first Bull since Michael Jordan in 1988 to win the prestigious award.
Meanwhile, team-mate Taj Gibson is considered a strong candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award while Thibodeau is involved in the conversation for Coach of the Year.