How Derrick Rose’s Injury Turned Joakim Noah into an All-Star

December 11th, 2012 by Zach Buckley Leave a reply »
Joakim Noah was never supposed to be this kind of player.

The ninth overall pick of the 2007 draft, the former Florida Gator entered the NBA after leading his alma mater to the school's first two NCAA basketball championships.

Despite his success, though, his draft selection garnered talks of bust before he ever suited up in a Bulls uniform.

Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey greeted the newest Bull with a sweeping criticism wrapped up in a column dubbed "You Must Be Joakim." Morrissey called Noah "half TV creation and half marshmallow soft." The columnist said his perception of Noah was "based on the reality that he's just not that good."

Noah did little to silence his critics during his first two NBA seasons, never topping 6.7 points per game or 7.6 rebounds per game. Maybe it was his lofty collegiate accomplishments or his successful family tree (father, Yannick, won tennis' French Open in 1983), but the bar appeared much higher than typically set for a ninth pick in his second professional season.

But the Bulls chose to focus on Noah's steady improvements (he upped his field-goal percentage from 48.2 to 55.6 ...

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