Bulls

Bulls' Joakim Noah accepting of bench role: 'I want to win'

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Bulls' Joakim Noah accepting of bench role: 'I want to win'

Joakim Noah will begin Tuesday night's season opener against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from an unfamiliar spot. The bench.

In a move predicted by many in the offseason that played out over the course of training camp and preseason, Fred Hoiberg's decision to start Nikola Mirotic over Noah to better balance the first and second units is something the 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and two-time All-Star has agreed to without reluctance.

"He didn’t have to sell me anything," Noah said. "I want to win. This makes our team our better. We have a lot of talent, a lot of talent up front. Sacrifices need to be made sometimes. This gives us the best chance for our team."

Noah has come off the bench in 80 of his 603 career games, though 68 of those came in the first two years of his career. The most recent 12 times - 10 in 2009-10 and two in 2012-13 - were byproducts of the Bulls big man returning from injury. In fact, Noah last came off the bench for a non-injury related reason on Jan. 12, 2009, a span of 490 games (including playoffs).

[MORE: Hoiberg not worried about pressure in season opener vs. LeBron, Cavs]

Noah's lack of floor balance playing alongside Pau Gasol was oft-criticized last season, and on media day a fully healthy Noah chalked up much of that imbalance to the injured knee he was playing on the majority of the campaign, when he averaged just 7.2 points on a career-worst 44.5 percent shooting and 9.6 rebounds.

Noah said at that time he wanted another chance to prove he could play with Gasol on the starting unit, but in Hoiberg's up-tempo, 3-point-happy offense starting the stretch forward Mirotic made far more sense. It will pair Noah with Taj Gibson on the second unit, a move Noah believes will make the team better from top to bottom.

"Hopefully both," Noah said with a smile when asked whether his move made the first or second team better.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

It's a situation not dissimilar from one Gibson, Noah's now-frontcourt partner, has dealt with much of his career. Gibson started 70 games his rookie season only to see the Bulls sign Carlos Boozer to a five-year, $76 million deal the following offseason. And when the Bulls used the Amnesty provision on Boozer prior to the 2014-15 season, freeing the power forward position up for Gibson to start, they signed Pau Gasol to a three-year deal in his place.

Gibson's acceptance of his role on the second unit - he's started just 49 games the last five years as a fill-in for various starters' injuries - has helped Noah with the adjustment. Now it's on Noah to work together with Gibson and the rest of the reserves to gain chemistry as the season progresses.

"He’s definitely sacrificed a lot for this organization," Noah said of Gibson. "For us to get to where we want to get to, everybody’s going to have to play well and we’re going to have to gel fast."

Bulls Talk Podcast: Rookie survey surprise, Joakim will double-team anyone

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AP

Bulls Talk Podcast: Rookie survey surprise, Joakim will double-team anyone

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Sean Highkin and Michael Walton join Kevin Anderson.

1:00 The great Chicken Sandwich Wars- believe the hype

5:15 Judging the Bulls missed free throw promotion with Chick-fil-A

9:25 The story of Michael Jordan betting with teammates on the Dunkin Donuts race

11:45 The myth of the special NBA Jams version with Michael Jordan

17:00 How Jordan would have used twitter in the 90’s

18:00 Which player in NBA history would have had the best twitter account

22:20 Are you with Devin Booker or Joakim Noah in the double-team debate?

25:37 On the NBA rookie survey and Cam Reddish winning ‘best career’ vote

Listen to the full podcast here

Bulls Talk Podcast

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The 90s Bulls references in Comedy Central's "South Side" are amazing

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AP

The 90s Bulls references in Comedy Central's "South Side" are amazing

Any TV show that references Bill Cartwright and Cliff Levingston gets a positive review in our book.

"South Side" is a new show from Comedy Central that "follows two friends who just graduated from community college and are ready to take over the world. But until they do, they’re stuck working at Rent-T-Own. Shot on location in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, the show offers an authentic look into what life on the South Side is all about."

This isn't an #ad, but you should certainly check it out if for no other reason than the constant Bulls references like the one below.

For you newer generation of Bulls fans, Cartwright played the final seven seasons of his NBA career with the Bulls. He averaged 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 426 games and later coached the Bulls from 2001 to 2004. He went 51-100 as head coach.

Levingston played two seasons with the Bulls (1990-1992) and averaged 4.0 poinst and 2.9 rebounds in 157 games.

No one would argue they were critical pieces to the early 90s Bulls title teams, but they're still making headlines in 2019 for getting shoutouts in "South Side."