Bulls' Noah on Garnett: 'He's a Dirty Player'


Bulls' Noah on Garnett: 'He's a Dirty Player'

Sunday, Apr. 18, 2010
2:43 P.M.
By Aggrey Sam

CLEVELAND Bulls center Joakim Noah hasnt necessarily endeared himself to Cavaliers fans, and if Chicago somehow gets past top-seeded Cleveland to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, a potential opponent might not be too happy with him either.

After Sundays Bulls practice in Cleveland, Noah was asked if he watched any other playoff games following Chicagos 96-83 loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday.

That was unbelievable yesterday, huh? That Boston-Miami game. Hes unbelievable, that guy? said Noah, referring to Celtics forward Kevin Garnett elbowing Miami swingman Quentin Richardson. Im going to say thishes a dirty player, man. Hes a dirty player. Thats messed up, man.

I dont know about a suspension, but hes always swinging elbows, man. I mean, Im hurting right now because of an elbow he threw, continued Noah, who obviously has a history with Boston from last springs epic Bulls-Celtics playoff series, although Garnett didnt play. Its one thing to be competitive and compete and all that, but dont be a dirty player.

He knows what hes doing. Its wrong.

Noah also pontificated about the city of Cleveland, in the wake of Cavaliers fans chanting, Noah sucks during Game 1, in response to Noahs pre-series shock the world comments after the Bulls regular-season finale, playoff-clinching win in Charlotte on Wednesday.

ClevelandI dont know about Cleveland, said Noah. There is nothing to do. Its bad, man. Its bad.

What, that Cleveland sucks? Noah, went on to sayin jest, when asked about whether the fans derision motivated himbefore turning serious. They played very well. Shaq is back and playing at a high level, and theyre on a mission right now.

Well see what were made of on Monday.

Although Noahs lightning-rod status may concern some, his teammates are supportive, knowing his emotion can be used to the Bulls benefit.

Oh, youve got to love him. I wish they were calling my name like that. Id love it, said Chicago point guard Derrick Rose. It would make me play harder. It should make him play harder. I just love playing away from home and shutting the crowd up, but its going to take some wins.

For that to occur, Noahs matchup against Cleveland center Shaquille ONeal must turn in the Bulls favor.

What do I have to do to wear Shaq out? Hopefully he wears himself out, Noah continued. Weve got to try to make it a track meet as much as possible.

You want me to give him all the credit in the whole world and then, what? said Noah, when asked about the difficulty of stopping ONeal, who dominated the paint, in contrast to the foul trouble Noah and Chicagos other big menrookie power forward Taj Gibson and backup center Brad Millerexperienced on Saturday. Guarding ONeal is as hard as it looks.

Despite their Game 1 loss, the Bulls were in high spirits during Sundays practice, continuing their theme of using the sessions to re-focus, loosen up and motivate themselves. For example, a round-robin game of one-on-one between reserves Jannero Pargo, James Johnson, Joe Alexander and Rob Kurz captivated the rest of the teamincluding Noah, even as he was being interviewed.

I remember when I used to do this with Tyrus and Big Pookie Jerome James my rookie year, said Noah. You get tired and you get really pissed off at the coaches. This is adversity in its rawest form.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Bulls Bracket Madness: The best individual seasons in franchise history


Bulls Bracket Madness: The best individual seasons in franchise history

We're trying to figure out the best season in Bulls franchise history, and we want your help in deciding.

Because the Bulls tout the greatest player in basketball history, who could have made up this list by himself, we're giving Michael Jordan his own side of the bracket. But the other side of the bracket is also filled with some pretty memorable and remarkable campaigns.

So read up on each matchup and then have your voice heard by voting on our Twitter page here. Check out the entire bracket in the graphic above.

The Jordan Region

No. 1 Michael Jordan (1995-96) vs. No. 8 Michael Jordan (1990-91)

No. 1 Michael Jordan (1995-96): Jordan was on a mission in his first full season back from retirement. He led the Bulls to a then-record 72 wins with a regular-season MVP award, All-Star MVP and romp through the NBA playoffs, where the Bulls went 15-3 en route to their fourth NBA title. Jordan won his eighth straight scoring title at 30.4 points a game, with nine games where he put up 40 or more. He saved his best for Detroit, scoring 53 with 11 rebounds and six steals in early March. To prove Jordan was getting better as he aged, he shot a career-high 43 percent from 3-point range at age 33.

No. 2 Michael Jordan (1990-91): 1990-91: Jordan's second MVP came with his first NBA title, as he was at the peak of his powers physically combined with the ultimate team success, with the Bulls finally getting past Detroit before defeating the Lakers in the Finals. He shot a career-high 54 percent from the field while averaging 31.5 points, six rebounds and 5.5 assists as he began to fully embrace the triangle offense in Phil Jackson's second season. Jordan had 57 games where he shot better than 50 percent from the field, and was among the league leaders in steals at 2.7 per game while earning his fourth straight All-Defensive First Team honor.

No. 1 Derrick Rose (2010-11) vs. No. 2 Scottie Pippen (1993-94)

No. 1 Derrick Rose (2010-11): Where to begin? The youngest MVP in league history took the league by storm, averaging 25.0 points and 7.7 assists while leading the Bulls to a league-best 62 wins. Rose had been named an All-Star the previous season but took his game to new heights in Year 3, appearing in 81 games, making 128 3-pointers (after making a combined 32 his first two seasons) while helping the Bulls rank first in defensive efficiency under first year head coach Tom Thibodeau. Rose and the Bulls lost in five games to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, with Rose shooting a paltry 35 percent on 24 attempts per game. But his historic season will always go down as one of the franchise’s best, and the only non-Jordan MVP.

No. 2 Scottie Pippen (1993-94): Yeah, well what would Scottie be without MJ? We found out that answer in 1993-94, when Pippen took the reins of the franchise as Jordan rode the Birmingham bus as a minor-league baseball player. Pippen responded with a sensational season, averaging 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He averaged 2.9 steals, shot 49 percent from the field and became a 3-point threat for the first time in his career. He was named First Team All-NBA and All-NBA Defensive First Team, and finished third to Hakeem and The Admiral in MVP voting. He averaged 22.8/8.3/4.6 in the postseason but ultimately proved it was easier to win in the spring with MJ by his side. Still, this individual season was one of the franchise’s best, if not the best. Hardware isn’t everything.

NBA Draft Tracker: Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander


NBA Draft Tracker: Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

For most of the college basketball season, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats ranked among the nation’s biggest underachievers. Calipari had perfected the one-and-done route in Lexington, recruiting classes full of McDonald’s All-Americans every year, making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, and then sending those talented freshmen off to the NBA. Matter of fact, Coach Cal’s ability to get players ready to play professionally is the foundation of his recruiting success.

However, this season the tried and true formula ran into a bit of a speed bump. Injuries and inconsistency led to double digit losses for the Wildcats during the regular season, and an uncertain tournament outlook. That’s when freshman point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerged as the leader of this young team, and sparked Kentucky to a Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been even better in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 19 points with 8 rebounds and 7 assists in the Wildcats’ opening round win over Davidson, then coming back with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in a victory over Buffalo.

At 6-6, Gilgeous-Alexander has the ability to shoot and pass over smaller defenders, while also possessing the quickness that is so crucial at the point guard position. Yes, he is very thin at 180 pounds, but has the frame to put on weight once he’s introduced to an NBA strength training program.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been Kentucky’s most efficient player throughout the season, shooting 49% from the field and nearly 42% from the 3 point line. He has the quickness and ball-handling ability to break down defenses and get in the paint for easy scores or assists. As the season progressed, Gilgeous-Alexander took on the role of go-to scorer late in games, sparking Kentucky’s runs in the S.E.C. AND NCAA tournaments.

So, by now I’m sure you’re asking, where does he fit with the Bulls? 3 weeks ago I was hoping Gilgeous-Alexander might be available in the 16-22 range where the Bulls might be able to get him with the Pelicans’ 1st round pick acquired in the Niko Mirotic trade. Unfortunately, his outstanding post-season play has him rocketing into the late lottery in the most recent mock drafts, and he could move up even higher if Kentucky advances to the Final 4.

The Bulls are happy with Kris Dunn as their starting point guard, and both Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne are under contract for next season. But if somehow the Pelicans fall out of the playoff field in the West (which seems very unlikely right now), adding an athletic combo guard like Gilgeous-Alexander would be an outstanding pick at 13 or 14.

So, when you’re watching Kentucky play in the NCAA Tournament, keep an eye on the tall, skinny guard wearing #22 and try to project just how good he might be on the professional level.