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Joakim Noah's breakout season could earn him Defensive Player of the Year hype

With a big increase in minutes as the anchor of the NBA's best defensive team, Bulls center Joakim Noah is positioning himself as frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year.

Jonathan Daniel

In the midst of a major breakout season, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah may be positioning himself as frontrunner to be the league's Defensive Player of the Year, Mark Strotman of CSN Chicago writes. In a recent article for Sports Illustrated, Noah was tabbed as the early favorite for the award, one of the NBA's biggest honors.

With Derrick Rose out of the lineup for most of the season, the Bulls have had to depend on players like Noah and Luol Deng more than ever. Seeing a significant increase in minutes (Deng is tops in the NBA in minutes played, Noah is second), both players have came through with quality performances, particularly on the defensive end.

Executing the defensive schemes of coach Tom Thibodeau in expert fashion, Noah has been able to anchor the most efficient defense in the NBA so far this season. He's currently sixth in the league in rebounding (10.3 per game) and fifth in blocks (2.3), plus he's nabbing 1.4 steals a game.