I think he'll be able to do more than that. Last year was kind of a revelation. The delay is the best thing could happen to Noah (and, really, PG—but that’s another story). And, yeah, we’re incredibly lucky. His achilles wasn’t separated, just cut. No rupture. But I’m sure it needed to heal so that it could withstand the rigors of NBA play—now, he doesn’t have to come back early and risk a full rupture (*cough*Durant!*cough*). He hurt it in September and had a six month timeline for recovery. He just picked up an extra 2-3 months. Tbat will help a lot.
And make no mistake about it, Noah was terrific last year once he started getting regular minutes. His defensive play was great; he adjusted to his diminished physical skills (another reason why he’ll help). His offensive play was as good or better than it ever had been. His +/- was great. It took him about 6 weeks to round into form, but from mid-January until he folded it up for the season, he had a 20 game run where he was terrific.
21.7 mpg, 10.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.0 bpg, .56% FG
I mean—how much would that help? That’s 17 and 12 per 36. That’s more blocks in court time than Zu. That’s more assists per minute than Bev. And doing that with smart, veteran play and attitude and, yeah, a dirty streak.
So, yeah. I hate the shutdown. But I’m also glad for the shutdown in some ways. Noah is one of the good ways.