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Grizzlies’ Joakim Noah says Taj Gibson helped him get his edge back

Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies center Joakim Noah is having a career resurgence in Memphis and the former All-Star big man says his close friend and former Chicago Bulls teammate Taj Gibson is a big reason why.

Noah played in only 53 games with the New York Knicks after signing a lucrative four-year, $72 million free agent deal with them in the summer of 2016. Injuries and a suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program summarized Noah’s brief tenure in New York.

The Knicks waived Noah in October. The former Defensive Player of the Year signed a one-year deal with the Grizzlies and has been playing the best basketball of his career in a long time.

“There was a time when I just didn’t really want to be about basketball,” Noah told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “I had been injured. I was a little bit embarrassed with everything that happened in New York. I had been away from the game for a while.

“Taj [Gibson] brought that edge back, that routine of going to the gym every day and being around hoopers and being in that environment every day. Taj is someone who brings it every day, whether it’s playoffs or regular season or offseason. His work is pro. He’s somebody I always loved to grind with, one of my favorite teammates. Even though we’re not on the same team, for him to be there for me is something I’ll remember always.”

With the Grizzlies, Joakim Noah is averaging 6.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. He has four double-doubles as well.