Below is an except of my article from NBA.com/Philippines.
An emerging leader
With the seemingly innocuous play in late November that prematurely ended the season of former MVP Derrick Rose and the mid-season trade of Chicago Bulls co-captain Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, I was curious to see where this would leave the 2013’-2014’ Bulls and their continuing quest to not only make the NBA playoffs but to also put together a deep run.
But with the loss of D Rose (15.9 points per game (ppg)/10 games) and the subsequent departure of Deng (19.0 ppg/23 games), how would these transitioning Bulls make up the void in their offense? Their leadership? Who among their remaining players would be the one to step up?
It was a train of thought that I am sure Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has been inundated with throughout Chicago’s injury-plagued season. But to his credit, Thibodeau has not offered any excuses and has even been quoted saying, “We have enough to win.”
Enough seems to have come in the form of 7th year center Joakim Noah whom Thibodeau has decided to run his half-court offense through following the loss of Rose and Deng.
Since the Deng trade, the Chicago Bulls (14-18) have gone 26-14 (as of March 28, 2014) led by the 6’11’’ Noah who’s game has not only risen by several notches but has also garnered some MVP consideration in the process.
[i] The NBA’s all-time assist leaders are John Stockton (15,806 | 1st), Jason Kidd (12,091 | 2nd), Mark Jackson (10,334 | 3rd), Steve Nash (10,296 | 4th), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (10,141 | 5th), Oscar Robertson (9,887 | 6th), Isiah Thomas (9,061 | 7th), “The Glove” Gary Payton (8,966 | 8th), and Andre Miller (8,070 | 9th place).