Joakim Noah’s 23 points against the Sacramento Kings was an atypical offensive performance for the Bulls big man. His career high for most points in a game is 26, but that was nearly two years ago against the Boston Celtics.
But with Derrick Rose out, offensive scoring will be an all hands on deck kind of approach this season. And even a player like Noah, who isn’t exactly an offensive threat, will be called upon to provide a scoring punch this season.
“His skills have gotten better,” remarked Carlos Boozer after practice on Monday. “We’ve got some plays for him offensively. I don’t know if Jo’s ever had plays for him, but we’ve got plays for him this year so it’s exciting. And he’s excited because he’s worked on his game.
“You guys saw in the preseason how much more consistent his jump shot is. His 15 to 17 footer looks great, his left hand drives, he’s finishing with a much higher percentage, he’s an improved basketball player."
Joakim worked out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar over the summer and it seems to have paid off as he and Boozer combined to score 41 points in Tuesday’s opener. Afterward, Tom Thibodeau simply said of Noah’s scoring outburst, “I’ll take it.”
But Joakim was much more realistic in terms of his ability to score the ball consistently in that manner.
“I probably won’t score 25 points a game,” he said after Thursday’s practice before the team headed to Cleveland for Friday night’s first road game of the season against the Cavaliers.
“I think I can do things offensively – whatever’s asked of me – I feel like I can make plays for other people and things like that.” TomThibodeau agrees.
“He’s got great vision and decision-making ability; both of our bigs – he and Carlos. If we play through them in the post and you cut, and you’re open, you’re going to get the ball. That’s why it’ so important to play through those guys.”