Joakim Noah's activity a bright spot in Bulls' loss to Hornets


Joakim Noah's activity a bright spot in Bulls' loss to Hornets

As one would assume the Bulls take the next three games to play with some kind of regular season intensity, Fred Hoiberg would likely bottle up whatever inspired Joakim Noah to perform with the kind of fervor Noah displayed against the Charlotte Hornets.

Certainly the Bulls’ 94-86 loss at Time Warner Cable Arena won’t mean anything in the big picture, nor will Noah’s overall numbers of 12 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

But the spirit in which Noah played, and the fact he only had two made field goals, shows the kind of effect he can still have.

It wasn’t pretty with Noah and it still isn’t, but it was effective and impactful, as the Bulls played without Pau Gasol (rest) and of course, Derrick Rose.

[MORE: Hoiberg wants a more aggressive Jimmy Butler before season starts]

“Jo was very active,” Hoiberg said. “I thought he defended Al Jefferson very well, who’s a tough cover on the block. He was battling, he was active, enthusiastic on the bench.”

In the first half, Noah stripped Jefferson on his patented post move, ran the floor to catch a nifty bounce pass from Aaron Brooks for a dunk while beating the lumbering Jefferson downcourt.

“Yeah, I think I can do better,” Noah said. “I missed some free throws, missed some easy ones my teammates were giving me great looks. Could’ve had more.”

Then in the third quarter, he showed his intangibles, setting up Kirk Hinrich and Tony Snell for their first field goals by being a safety valve, setting quick screens so they could step into a dribble and easy jump shot.

“We all know how great of a player Jo is, we want him to continue to be aggressive and look to score,” said Jimmy Butler, who scored 18 in 37 minutes. “He passes incredibly well while playing defense on the other end. We want to keep his confidence high.”

Noah went to the foul line 11 times in the first half, due to his relentless activity and energy. The word “spry” could be used to describe his energy for the first time in quite some time.

It wasn’t enough to get the Bulls into any kind of consistent offensive flow, as they shot just 38 percent and missed 21 of their 27 three-pointers, most of which came in the second half as they mustered only 35 points.

[RELATED: Fred Hoiberg likes Doug McDermott coming off the Bulls' bench]

The slow pace led Hoiberg to say they took a step back, one that can’t be repeated too many times in the regular season.

“We were really good offensively in the first quarter (33 points), but from then on out we were not good at all,” he said. “Offensively we have to be better than that, we’ve been pretty good this preseason on that end. Tonight we didn’t play with any pace.”

Their perimeter defense was a problem early, as Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lin and P.J. Hairston all had their way with the Bulls guards, which should be to Hoiberg’s chagrin after his terse statement claiming he’s nowhere near happy with where the team’s defense is to date, following their loss to Detroit last week.

Most came in the first quarter, though, and the Bulls rebounded to hold the Hornets to 42 percent shooting, but didn’t convert offensively.

“We did a better job getting stops,” said Hoiberg, noting the Hornets shot 63 percent in the first. “I thought even when we got stops, we weren’t getting out on the break and pushing it back at them. For whatever reason, we decided to play a slow down game tonight.”

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Walker scored 22 and was bouncy enough to get Hinrich fouled out in just 18 minutes of run, while Lin had a more rounded evening, scoring 18 with seven rebounds and five assists in 24 minutes.

Noah wasn’t the only bright spot, though, as Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis again played well in different spurts. Gibson played beyond his 15-minute limit as he scored 14 points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes, hitting his first four shots and missing just one on the night.

Bobby Portis again made his case for a spot in the rotation, with 12 points and eight boards in 19 minutes.

But with the exception of Butler, the Bulls guards struggled on both ends of the floor, leaving Hoiberg with as much cause for concern as he does optimism with his big man who didn’t look so old Monday night.

Coby White leads the way, receives votes in 5 categories of annual NBA Rookie Survey


Coby White leads the way, receives votes in 5 categories of annual NBA Rookie Survey

The NBA's annual Rookie Survey was released on Monday, and there's a whole lot of Coby White love sprinkled throughout it. As John Schuhmann pointed out in his write-up, White and Celtics point guard Carsen Edwards tied for the lead by receiving votes in a survey-high five different categories.

Here's what rookies think of White's game.

Who will be the 2019-20 Kia Rookie of the Year?

1. Zion Williamson, Pelicans (35%)
2. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (27%)
3. R.J. Barrett, Knicks/Cam Reddish, Hawks (5% each)

Also receiving votes: Coby White, Bulls; 9 others

Thoughts: One aspect White has working in his favor is his position: Beginning with Kyrie Irving in 2012, six of the last eight Rookies of the Year have been point guards. Realistically, White's path to Rookie of the Year consideration is bumpy. The Bulls gave Tomas Satoransky $30 million to eat up a bulk of the point-guard minutes, and Kris Dunn is still on the roster battling for minutes with White. The rook's best path to RoY consideration would be carving out a Sixth Man role, similar to what Ben Gordon did in 2004.

Which rookie will have the best career?

1. Cam Reddish, Hawks (19%)
2. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (16%)
3. De'Andre Hunter, Hawks (11%)
4. Coby White, Bulls (5%)
4. Zion Williamson, Pelicans (5%)
4. Jaxson Hayes, Pelicans (5%)
4. R.J. Barrett, Knicks (5%)

Others receiving votes: 12 others

Thoughts: OK then. White received the same number of votes in this category as Zion Williamson, who has superstar written all over him. This one is basically impossible to predict, but it's feasible that White could wind up being the best player from his class. He was the 7th overall pick, after all. Also, remember that Wendell Carter Jr. received the most votes in this category a year ago. The Bulls are well represented.

Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was drafted?

1. Bol Bol, Nuggets (19%)
1. Kevin Porter, Cavs (19%)
3. Coby White, Bulls (5%)
3. Nassir Litte/Isaiah Roby/Grant Williams/Carsen Edwards (5%)

Others receiving votes: 12 others

Thoughts: It was interesting to see White's name on this list. It's tough to make an argument that White should have gone in front of any of the six players taken before him in June. If anything, the Bulls' other rookie is feeling like a steal where he was drafted. Daniel Gafford had a mighty impressive Summer League as the No. 41 overall pick. Fun fact: The only Bulls rookie to ever top this category was Erik Murphy in 2013. That didn't work out so well.

Which rookie is the best defender?

1. Matisse Thybulle, Sixers (37%)
2. De'Andre Hunter, Hawks (29%)
3. Brandon Clarke/Jaxson Hayes/Nassir Litte (8%)

Others receiving votes: Coby White, Bulls; 3 others

Thoughts: Another interesting inclusion for White, who certainly has the speed and size to be a plus defender. His wing span isn't anything to write home about but White should be able to keep up with the league average defense at the position. In such a guard-heavy league, simply keeping your counterpart to his season average is usually a plus. White should, at the very least, be able to do just that.

Which rookie is the best playmaker?

1. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (40%)
2. Darius Garland, Cavs (15%)
3. Coby White, Bulls (10%)
3. Ty Jerome, Cavs (10%)
5. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Pelicans (8%)

Others receiving votes: 4 others

Thoughts: Point guards dominated this category, and for good reason. White isn't a natural point guard but he's a blur in transition and looked pretty comfortable in Summer League working pick-and-roll action. The Bulls' rookie is going to have more than a handful of "wow" moments as a playmaker, so he's deserving of this spot on the list.

'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10


'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10

On Friday ESPN revealed that the next film in their award-winning 30 for 30 series will focus on the life of former Bull and Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman. 

The film—which is titled "Rodman: For Better or Worse" will detail Rodman's journey to becoming a Hall of Famer and five-time NBA Champion. The documentary will detail Rodman's difficult upbringing in Dallas, his dominant run at Southeastern Oklahoma State and his development into one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history. 

While Rodman is no doubt one of the greatest talents in NBA history, he is just as famous for his intriguing and oftentimes shocking off the court exploits. Rodman: For Better or Worse will discuss Rodman diving into international diplomacy issues and all of the deeper reasons behind him becoming the interesting character that we know him as today. 

The documentary will feature interviews from former teammates and coaches of Rodman's, including Bill Laimbeer,  John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, and Phil Jackson. 

Rodman: For Better or Worse will be directed by Todd Kapostasy. 

Kapostasy is a seven-time Emmy Award winner. He wrote and directed 2016 documentary 'Confessions of a Cubs Fan: A Century of Waiting', which focused on the idea that winning isn't everything in sports amid the backdrop of the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series.

“Rodman: For Better or Worse” released on September 10, at 8 p.m. CT

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