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Joakim Noah is leading the 36-29 Chicago Bulls

Majority of the talk regarding this year’s NBA MVP has revolved around the two-man race between Kevin Durant and LeBron James. However, after the Chicago Bulls have had a great week with wins over Miami and Houston, Joakim Noah now finds himself squeaking into that same conversation. And it makes sense, considering Noah finds himself in some very elite company.
Noah is only averaging 12.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Are those the typical MVP numbers that the likes of Durant or James put up? Not quite. However, he’s posted three triple doubles this month with the inclusion of the assist category, which hasn’t been done by a center since David Robinson in 1993-1994. And in Sunday’s win over the Heat, Noah finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. The last time a Bulls player put up numbers like that was in 1995-1996, when Scottie Pippen did it.
When the season began, the Bulls had 7/1 odds to win the NBA Championship. With Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Noah, This looked to be the first year since Michael Jordan retired that the Bulls would be ready to rise back to prominence in the NBA and contend with the Heat in the East. However, after waiting all of last year for the return of Rose, he only lasted one month before he tore his right meniscus in a game against the Trail Blazers. Then, as the Bulls season started to spiral out of control and they began to lose hope, they traded away Deng at the trade deadline for Andrew Bynum, who they then immediately released. As many people automatically thought the Bulls were out of it, Noah has been able to step into the limelight as of late and take charge of this team. The result has been huge wins over some of the best teams in the East, making them a perennial power and troublesome foe for whoever they get matched up against in the playoffs.
And while all of this is fine and dandy for Noah, what’s important for those betting on the Bulls is that they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and they are just 1 ½ games back from the Raptors for the third spot in the Eastern Conference.
The schedule for the Bulls doesn’t let up a whole lot in the coming weeks. Yes, they were able to beat the Heat and the Rockets in one week, but they also lost to the Spurs by 8. And in their next seven games, they’ll play the Thunder and the Trailblazers, as well as the Pacers twice. If the Bulls want to prove that they are legit, despite not having Rose or Deng, they need to win those games. And if Noah can be the leading force for the Bulls in some of those games, that might be just enough to keep him in the MVP talks as well.
The Bulls are currently at 75/1 to win the NBA Championship.