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Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah turning into All-Star candidate

The Bulls center has gotten off to an impressive start in the 2012-2013 season.

Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Bulls (6-6) have struggled this season with a new, inexpensive bench exacerbating the loss of Derrick Rose, but it's not been because of the play of center Joakim Noah. Noah, on the contrary, is having a career year through 12 games this season, putting himself in the conversation for an All-Star berth.

With Dwight Howard now in the Western Conference and Andrew Bynum yet to play so far this season, there are a few potential openings for big men on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. One could be filled by Noah, who is averaging 14.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Those points and assists numbers are career highs, and Noah is also so far setting career marks in blocks and steals per game.

With Rose out at least through the All-Star break, Noah will have ample opportunity to keep those numbers where they are. Whether that equals an All-Star berth over players like Chris Bosh, Anderson Varejao and Greg Monroe remains to be seen, but Noah is nonetheless putting together a stellar season.