by Chris Camello (@chris_camello)
LOS ANGELES — With the NBA season resuming next month, the Los Angeles Clippers decided to be proactive locking in two-time All-Star center Joakim Noah for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the league, the Clippers took a flyer on the injury-riddled big man with a 10-day contract. Since that contract expired after the season was re-established, the collective brain trust running the Clippers’ front office believed keeping the veteran would be beneficial.
While the Clippers have an overall deep roster, they don’t have much depth in their front court. While Ivica Zubac is their starting center, the majority of those center minutes go to Sixth Man candidate Montrezl Harrell. They don’t have much beyond those two opting to go smaller at times.
Noah doesn’t figure to impede on anyone’s minutes, however, in case of foul trouble, injuries, matchups, or even somebody getting infected with COVID19, the Clippers want to make sure they can absorb any such blow.
Noah is more than capable of handling whatever role is given to him. This is a former Defensive Player of the Year back in 2014 when he was the emotional vocal leader and defensive anchor for the Chicago Bulls, which also led to All-Star appearances in 2013 and 2014. He also has postseason experience playing in numerous big games for the Bulls.
He can do more than just grab boards, block shots, and set hard screens. Noah has a high basketball IQ averaging four assists a game in his career, showing he can initiate some offense.
The most important aspect is he’s healthy. From the end of his tenure in Chicago through his two disastrous years in New York, Noah’s chronic knee injuries kept him sidelined. However, those 42 games he played in Memphis in 2019 showed he’s got something left. Just like much of the Clippers’ roster, Noah has something to prove and his hard-working mentality and intense energy will be a fit with this club, no matter what role he’s asked to fill.