It was tough last season for Joakim Noah, possibly his worst since joining the Chicago Bulls and entering the NBA. He’s hoping that a new head coach and staying healthy will help pick him back up to previous highs.
A free agent at the end of this season, Noah averaged only 7.2 points in 30.6 minutes per game, missing 15 overall. He was still very good under the boards (9.6 per game) and remains one of the best passing big men in the league (4.7 assists), not letting Pau Gasol’s arrival eat up too much of his numbers.
But his offensive ability and mostly his attempts to score the ball looked embarrassing at time. A combination of lost confidence and maybe some declining shooting mechanics and decision ability led to just 44.5% from the field, the worst of his career by far. It wasn’t exactly four vs five when he was on the floor, but the Bulls have thought about trading him, something that was off the books in previous offseasons.
I feel great. This is the first time I’ve taken a lot of time for myself to just focus on what I need to get done. Sometimes when you go through humbling experiences, you’re hungrier than ever. And I feel ready to prove I can help this team win big. I got to break bread with coach. I’ve enjoyed talking to the coaching staff, spending time with Fred. I think it’s going to be very different.
The Bulls haven’t changed much. They’ve added Bobby Portis through the draft, and that’s pretty much it. They’re looking forward to better offense under Fred Hoiberg, and simply more from a number of players, including Noah, who had his problems with Thibodeau over the years. If he doesn’t find a renewed, improved touch offensively and once again miss too many games, the Bulls might not be too serious about pursuing him in free agency next year.