Ask Joakim Noah what making his first All-Star team would mean to him, and his answer reveals why he has a solid chance to become the first Bulls center to do so since Artis Gilmore.

"When you start thinking about individual accolades and stuff like that, you take away from what's important," Noah said. "And that's the game and playing the right way and playing for your teammates.

"In the NBA especially, you can get caught up in that stuff very easily — your contract, your playing time, individual things. The great teams, the teams that are about championships, they don't play that way."

Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls aren't competing for a championship. With Noah, they are competing, something he does as consistently as any player in the league.

Watch Noah on one defensive possession. Granted, he might provide too much help at times, pulling himself occasionally out of position. But his activity and ability to cover ground is a marvel.

Offensively, Noah always has been underrated because his game is not aesthetically pleasing. But he can run the floor, catch, dribble and pass, a complete package that many big men lack.

"Joakim has come into his own on the offensive end," Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant said earlier this season.

Noah is averaging 13 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 39.4 minutes. All but the rebounding mark are career highs by a wide margin.