TNT analyst Charles Barkley has been a big supporter of Joakim Noah; until now.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, after Noah's two-point, five-rebound performance in the Bulls' loss vs. the Grizzlies Monday Barkley said, "His energy level is not the same. I have loved how hard he has worked, but he has not played up to his capabilities this year. Even though Chicago has a great record, he has not played like he has played the last couple of years."
Noah's play seems to fluctuate every other season as it is. Looking at his numbers during his tenure with the Bulls, his first season he scored 488 points and 416 rebounds. In '08-'09 he had 537 points with 606 rebounds; in 2009-'10 he scored 687 points with 705 rebounds; last season he scored 561 points with 498 rebounds and he currently has 114 points and 131 rebounds in 16 games. Not too much of a flux but not completely consistent either.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau isn't worried about Noah's performance. He told the Sun-Times, "Jo's fine. He played well the last couple of games before the Memphis game 12 rebounds against the Celtics and Raptors. The Memphis game, we played poorly as a team. But I like the way Noah's playing. He's reacting to the ball a lot better."
So maybe he just had an off-game and wasn't completely there. The lockout has definitely had an effect on everyone's play, not to make excuses but what did you expect? We're 16 games in and although it's just a 66-game season there's still time.
Do you think Noah has stepped up his game and will continue to do so? Are you happy with his performance?
Kendall Gill can add another bullet point to his resume.
NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls analyst was announced as a member of the University of Illinois' Athletics Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018. Gill enters in the same class as his coach at Illinois, Lou Henson, and former Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr.
Gill was a part of Illinois' 1989 Final Four team and earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors the following year as a senior when he led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game). He is third in program history in steals with 218.
He went on to have a 15-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Bulls.
Last year was the inaugural class for Illinois' hall of fame.
The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.
1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.
2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…
3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling.