Go Go Gadget Jo

Posted: February 2, 2012 by Terry Carlton in Basketball, NBA
Tags: , , , , ,

Coach Thibs is Inspector Gadget, and Joakim Noah is his not so secret commodity, somewhat of an oddity in today’s NBA, his (as much as I don’t like the term) X-Factor, his man in the middle who makes it all go.

Joakim Noah is our engine. Without his constant energy, the Bulls do not go. Period. For us to continue to compete for a ‘Chip, he needs to provide that spark, that extra oomph, that intangible, unmatchable, contagious bounce that feeds the rest of Chicago a proverbial full plate and seconds. In this ridiculous shortened season, we need all the food we can get, and Noah, infamous for his slow starts in regular regular seasons, got off to a slow start in the 2011-12 campaign, leading some to question his conditioning once again. But believe me, Joakim is hungry, and that hunger for a title is the common denominator in the Bulls’ locker room.
Joakim reported for training camp in shape. By NBA center standards, he was 100%. The issue here has become that we expect 110+% from a guy who brings as much energy as we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him. He expects even more from himself. We know he’s capable of 20+ rebounds a night. We know he can spark our team with timely blocks and charges taken on any given possession. Sometimes that spark takes awhile to light. Over the last 5 games though, Noah has averaged a healthy double-double: 13.2 points, 12.6 rebounds while shooting 64.1% from the floor. This is the Joakim Noah we’ll need to thrive deep into the playoffs and to push past the “Hollywood as hell” Heat into the NBA Finals (I’m assuming, along with everyone else, barring any major injuries/freak accidents/breakdowns that we’ll have a rematch from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals).

Joakim Noah is a character, but high character. Opinionated quotes and funky draft day suits aside, he is a defensive machine, capable of guarding any five positions any time he’s called upon to do so. His offensive rebounding is unparalleled in today’s game. I’m okay with slow starts, as long as strong finishes are looming in our April, May and June future, which recent efforts have indicated they will.

This NBA season is obviously not your typical one. Guys are getting hurt at an alarming rate, coaches are openly criticizing the way the season lends itself to injury, not to mention training camps were shortened and accelerated, causing conditioning to take a back seat to, well, just getting on the damn floor.

Still, Joakim’s ability to stay conditioned and bring his intensity night in, night out is crucial if we are to contend for real. The Joakim switch needs to always be turned to “high energy.”

“I think his conditioning and timing are coming around,” Coach Thibs said. “He’s putting in a lot of extra work.”

That’s what we like to hear. That extra work could land our big man a spot as a reserve to D12 in this year’s All Star Game in Orlando. As I write this, Joakim leads former Bull Tyson Chandler by 30,000+ votes after second ballots returned. However, not too much stock can be put into how fans vote considering DeAndre Jordan is in second place out west behind Andrew Bynum. What the fuck has happened to the center position?!? If I’m building a franchise (which I’m not) and I need a center, a well-conditioned Joakim is a top  2 pick at his position.

He is sort of a hybrid between a throwback center and a modern day Dennis Rodman. If his energy stays at a high level, the wins will keep piling up. If he can master the art of the mind game and neutralize LeBron during the ECF this year (he’s attempted with fail), something no amount of hard core Luol Deng defense can physically overcome, the Bulls are in business. The moment Jo’s energy dips, the rest of the team sometimes succumbs as well. In a shortened season like this, the margin for error is even smaller than usual. You’ve got to bring it every single night, while still keeping just enough and more in the reserve tank for that playoff push. Joakim’s energy is exciting, and the level he brings this team up to when that energy is at its highest is something very few teams can deal with, especially in a seven game series.

We, as Chicagoans, have chips on our broad shoulders, and we identify with a guy like Joakim accentuating those chips with his intensity on the hardwood every night, long ass strides, 4th grade “jumper” and all.

Dude just needs to clean the glass and keep it half full until it overflows with championship rings…

…Go go gadget Noah!

  1. […] As Terry wrote, Jo is back! He’s been more active lately and his defense has been outstanding over this recent run of success. Jo is important, he can’t be tired and lazy if he’s going to have any worth to this team. His passing from the top of the key is a big part of the Bulls offense. […]

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