Joakim Noah Wins Defensive Player of the Year

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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah will be named the defensive player of the year, according to a league source. The news conference will be held at 4 p.m. CT.

Noah is in the midst of the best season of his professional career, averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game during the regular season. While Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau didn't confirm the news, he has acknowledged throughout the year just how important Noah has been on both ends of the floor.

Aside from serving as the defensive anchor for Thibodeau's system, Noah has also become an even bigger leader on and off the floor for his teammates after the loss of Derrick Rose (knee surgery) and the trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland.

"I'm not going to comment right now," Thibodeau said after Monday's practice. "Because the league has asked us to wait until they make an announcement. But Jo's had a great year for us. So I'll comment at the appropriate time. ... I'd like to keep my money."

Joakim Noah to win Defensive Player of the Year

Noah becomes the first Bull since Michael Jordan to win the prestigious award. Jordan won the award in 1988. The emotional center also has a strong chance to make the All-NBA first team.

Teammate Taj Gibson is considered a strong candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, while Thibodeau figures to be in the running for Coach of the Year.

CSN Chicago earlier reported news of Noah's recognition.

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