Joakim Noah averaged 10.7 points and 11.0 rebounds last season. Giving mulligans to Lamar Odom (9.8rpg) and Al Horford (9.9), and not including Earl Barron (who only played 7 games), only 14 players averaged rebounding double-doubles last season. And of those 14, only 7 were centres, one of whom (David Lee) does not figure to be a centre this year. Additionally, Joakim averaged 2.1 assists per game in that time, a 700% increase on Brendan Haywood's assist total. He blocked 1.2 shots a night, and also averaged 0.7 steals, which is pretty healthy for a centre. And he did all this in only 30 minutes per game.
Calling someone an "energy" player is usually meant pejoratively. Its intent is usually to infer that the player has no skill, and impacts the game only by running around like a blue arsed fly, flailing wildly at the ball while having no ball skills themselves. It's an accusation often levied at Noah by those wanting to besmirch him. And when it's not meant only pejoratively, Noah is absolutely an energy player. But he's also highly skilled, a simple yet important detail that the phrase "energy player" overlooks. And he's also extremely productive. [...]
[T]he oft-held idea that Joakim Noah is a nothing offensively is extremely baseless. He is flawed offensively, but he is not Dan Gadzuric out there. Noah is a good passer of the ball, which is why Chicago run offense through him despite his own limited isolation scoring ability. He never takes bad shots, and takes only shots he can make; this, in itself, is a very underrated skill. He has become a good pick and roll option, a developing pick and pop options, has a decent left hand, and is particularly adept at a running left handed hook shot that you'll probably think was just a fluke if e'er he makes it against your team, but which really isn't. Noah's jumpshot has improved considerably, going from an absolute nothing to a respectable open shooter, and he shoots 75% from the foul line. Your team's centre probably doesn't. But his most underrated offensive ability is his ability to run the court. Even if he doesn't get the ball, Noah will run anyway. And he will either finish with a dunk, or provide a wonderful decoy for another guy to finish. This ability was responsible for about 100 Chicago Bulls points last year; while I've admittedly fashioned that number out of my arse, the point stands. These are abilities most centres either don't have or don't use, and they must be factored into any evaluation of Joakim's abilities.
When you combine this with his elite rebounding and his decent defensive skills - which can be overrated at times, but which are still pretty good - then you're talking about a useful and productive two-way player. Joakim has significant flaws, and it always stings the balls to give $12 million annually to an obviously flawed player. But the flaws are only hugely detrimental if you perceive them to be; considering that Noah's style of play and resulting effectiveness greatly mitigate these weaknesses, you shouldn't perceive them to be as important as his production. Players like Brendan Haywood and Dam Salembert have more of what you might call "centre size" - a fact often cited in their defense in comparison with Noah - yet it barely matters that they're slightly heavier and thus easier to imagine at the spot. The value for money is different at the centre position to what it would be in the backcourt. This list evidences that. And that list doesn't even include the power forwards.