Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team, the NBA announced Monday.
Noah received 24 points, tying with former Bull Tyson Chandler for the most votes of centers in the league.
“Joakim, obviously I’m very pleased with that. I think down the road, Joakim has a very good chance to be Defensive Player of the Year,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said before Monday night’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Heat at the United Center. “His ability to defend all five positions, every aspect of the game: individual defense, team defense, rebounding, multiple effort. Very unique player.”
Joining Noah and Chandler on the first team were league MVP LeBron James of Miami, NBA steals leader Chris Paul of the Clippers, back-to-back league-leading shot-blocker Serge Ibaka of the Thunder and Tony Allen of the Grizzlies, the leading vote-getter and defensive specialist as one the league’s top defenders.
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“Tony Allen is as good as it gets on the perimeter and you can make a case for him for Defensive Player of the Year,” Thibodeau said of the Chicago native, who played in Boston when the coach was a Celtics assistant. “He can guard every position, great feet, strength, anticipation.”
Named to the league’s all-defensive second team were Boston’s Avery Bradley, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Indiana’s Paul George and Allen’s Grizzlies teammates Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, the Defensive Player of the Year.
All-Star small forward Luol Deng was the only other Bulls player to garner any votes, earning one-first-place vote and 11 points overall.