The top priority for the Bulls this offseason remains adding scoring by any means necessary.
As Monday once again showed, it’s the defense that is just fine.
Both Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler were named to the NBA All-Defensive teams, as Noah, who was also the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, headlined the first team with the most votes first-team votes (105), and Butler was named to the second team with 29 first-team votes.
Even Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich earned some love, as both received two first-team votes each.
But it was another feather for Noah’s 2013-14 campaign, as the All-Star continued making the case for being one of the all-around best centers in the Association.
Noah, who appeared in 80 of the 82 regular-season games for the Bulls, ranked sixth in the NBA in rebounding (11.3 per game) and 12th in blocks (1.51 per game), as well as adding 1.24 steals. He was just one of the players (Detroit’s Andre Drummond and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis) to average at least 10 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game, as the Bulls held opposing teams to a .430 field goal percentage, which was the second-best mark in the league.
What stood out with Noah, however, was his versatility in Thibodeau’s defense, at times even guarding opposing point guards when need be on switches.
Back in April, he credited his defense to the work ethic he’s learned growing up, and called any defensive accolades “team awards.’’
“This wouldn’t be possible without my boy Kirk Hinrich, an old man, picking up [the opposition] full-court,’’ Noah said. “My whole team. Of course [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau], we’ve definitely had our hard times, our ups and downs, but without your system this wouldn’t be possible.’’
The rest of the first team included Indiana’s Paul George, Clippers’ veteran Chris Paul, Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka and Golden State’s Andre Iguodala.
Joining Butler on the second team was Miami’s LeBron James, Houston’s Patrick Beverley, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert.
The timing couldn’t be any better for Butler, who could be getting an extension this summer unless the Bulls want to risk letting him go to restricted free agency next season.
While Butler’s offense was inconsistent at times, he regularly guarded the best scorer on the floor under 6-10, averaging 1.9 steals per game.