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Will Joakim Noah Rebound in New York?


The addition of Derrick Rose was a deal that left a massive hole in the defense of the Knicks. It gave NY the offensive firepower it lacked but gave up Robin Lopez, a solid defensive option that was traded to the Bulls along with Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon. What the Knicks did next actually gave me, and hopefully Knick fans everywhere, hope for next season. They added Joakim Noah, one the top defensive players in the NBA. Coming into free agency, I believed that all the Knicks had to do to become a 40-45 win team was add Noah. When I got news of this, the room started to spin as I had a realization that the Knicks could ACTUALLY make the playoffs this year. If the Knicks become a 40-45 win team this year, the fantasy baller only cares about two questions. How is Noah going to be a part of that and how is that going to boost his fantasy outlook?

 

Will Joakim Noah Rebound in New York?

Let’s address the major problem before I begin the analysis. Last year, Noah only played 29 games during an injury filled season. The year before, he only played 67 games. Noah has not played a full season in two years and unfortunately this leaves a lot of speculation of his production for this upcoming year. But watching Noah in the games he's been on the court, he still has the talent and defensive prowess he has been known for, and the injuries are just minor bumps in the road. I would not be more concerned about Noah in the blue and orange than I would about anyone else. May I add that the new Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg favored Taj Gibson and played small ball, which led to Noah riding the bench much of last season, even when healthy.

I was personally very confused why he sat the bench for so long without a lingering injury. His defense was top notch, and the way he managed to control the offense and find cutters was impressive. He was patient, moved the ball when he could, and even took jump shots when they were open. As hideous as his jumper may be, he proved that he still has the confidence and the passing skills to be a big part of the offensive game plan. Noah will be the new defensive face of the franchise and along with Kristaps Porzingis, will be a terrifying sight to see while driving down the lane. Overall the Noah deal greatly helps the Knicks defense and gives them another outlet on offense without sacrificing much in return.

For fantasy's sake, this is tough to tell. Noah should benefit in New York with the talent he is surrounded by, and by a more prominent role in the rotation. Rose, Porzingis, and Carmelo Anthony are all shooters that are more than capable of getting off their fair share of shots per game. With Noah's height and court vision, he should be utilized as a playmaker and see a big spike in assists by feeding the the players around him. In recent years, Joakim’s shooting has took a slight downturn in just about every category that matters. (FGA, FG%, FT%) BUT he makes up for that through hustle stats. He rebounds efficiently, blocks shots, finds cutters, and will be the leader on the Knicks defense they desperately needed.

For fantasy his production should be solid, and I feel comfortable saying he'll rebound from last year's tainted season, and could put up a double-double every night with assists scattered throughout. Last year more times than not, in the little time he had on the court, he would have more assists than points. For a defensive center, what more could you want. He can work on his shot, just like every other player, but his vision and IQ help him produce in more ways than other big men. For DFS, I would keep Joakim on my watch list every night. For regular leagues, Joakim should not be overlooked and could be a good sleeper because of his recent injuries.

Once again, it's hard to extrapolate too much from his stats from his injury-plagued season two years ago, let alone from his stats in just 29 games mostly off the bench last season. But I watched more than enough basketball to know what I'm talking about and I'm confident Noah is going to have a big role in the Knicks.  Don't forget that the last time he was healthy and playing a big role back in 2014, Noah finished 4th in MVP voting, well ahead of James Harden.  He can't be counted out yet as a force in the NBA and on fantasy rosters.