Joakim Noah does not think he can be the same player he was
It has been a rough stretch for New York Knicks center Joakim Noah. In what was supposed to be a revitalization in his hometown has instead become an endless battle with injuries and league violations.
Now that he is finally set to hit the court for the first time in the 2017-18 NBA season, it is hard to speculate where Noah fits in with this surprising Knicks team. According to Steve Popper of USA Today, even Noah himself admitted that he is not the player he once was:
Noah asked if he feels he can be the player he was: "Probably not."
— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) November 17, 2017
Although he was never exactly known for his offensive prowess, Noah was once one of the fiercest competitors in the league, as a bonafide rim protector and a stalwart on the glass. Knicks fans and players alike were hoping for at least a resemblance to the former Defensive Player of the Year.
Needless to say, it did not work out as the self-proclaimed ‘superteam’ has since been disassembled. Fortunately, the Knicks have still managed to bounce back nicely after a solid 8-6 start to the 2017-18 NBA season.
Center Enes Kanter has done a tremendous job holding down the frontcourt in Noah’s absence after being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for superstar Carmelo Anthony. Kanter quickly became a fan-favorite after his recent spat with Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, but more importantly, has played well by averaging 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. His performance only leaves further speculation as to where Noah fits upon his return.