What will Joakim get out of working with Kareem?

Kind of an older story now, but according to Shams Charina (ChicagoNow blogger, though this one on RealGM), Joakim Noah intends to work out with Kareem Abdul Jabbar this off-season. Just how much is there to gain from the pairing? It's hard to say. Sometimes the greatest players don't make the greatest teachers, but when it comes to big men, I think they can help significantly.

I have to think what brought about the thought was Kareem's own thoughts on Joakim Noah earlier this season on the Waddle and Silvy show.

"I would have to have a chance to work with him and see what he is willing to do," Abdul-Jabbar said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Some guys are uncomfortable shooting the ball in various ways.

"You can't get somebody to go outside of their comfort zone immediately. Sometimes you have to coax him out there and give them the opportunity to find it and work toward it."

"If [Noah] had an offensive game he would be a monster," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He is a very good player. He is so selfless and would do anything for his team and will do anything for his team. I really admire his character and well, the whole Chicago team.

"If Joakim Noah can get some offense going it will make for some balance. If they have an inside threat, they can't just focus on stopping Derrick. Derrick has the defense geared to make him less effective in the same way they had the focus on Michael [Jordan]. Then when Michael got some guys around him, it was lights out. They started to dominate and they won their six world championships.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar's most famous, when it comes to tutoring work, for working with Andrew Bynum. I'm not really sure how much they worked together or how much Bynum credits his improvement to Kareem [sorry, you'll have to track down a Laker's blog for that answer], but I've certainly heard the thought commented on by others that he was a key factor in Bynum's improvement.

I'm skeptical that much comes out of the pairing, but it shows Joakim's willingness to seek improvement from any source possible. I doubt we'll be seeing free throw line sky hooks, but Noah's already got a decent short hook from both sides when the Bulls feed him, so we'll have to hope Kareem has something to offer in the way of subtle improvements that Noah hasn't seen before to take that hook from decent to very good.

While the real story is more about Noah's drive to improve and willingness to try new things, Kareem is right about one thing. If Noah comes ever came back with a big offensive game, he'd be a monster. I doubt Kareem, or anyone, can get Noah there, but I'm happy as can be that Noah's still working his ass off trying to get there.


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  • Looking forward to seeing the sky tornado in action.

    Seriously though, like you say it's hard to see too much coming from this. We seem to get this story several times every off season about how big man A is going to work with former big man B. If it were that easy we wouldn't have a league where "offensive powerhouses" Chandler, McGee and Noah ranked 6th through 8th in points scored by centers.

  • Kareem and Noah working together? I wish them the best.

    I do know that Bill Walton worked with Roy Hibbert two summers ago at the request of Larry Bird. It seems like the Roy Hibbert I see today is very different than the Hibbert I saw two seasons ago.

    Here's hoping Noah improves his game significantly. I have always thought 2:1 tutoring goes really well (I was a training consultant).

    Perhaps Asik could join Kareem and Noah at these training sessions.

  • Joakim seemed on the rise as a force for the Bulls gaining respect and recognition around the league. Then post thumb injury, for whatever reason, he has completely abandoned the baseline hooks. And his spin moves and away hand layups, gone. You will see some ocassional hooks at angles slightly away from the basket, but they are a completely different shot, and unlike the baseline hooks, he misses them more times then not.

    And Jo's tornado jumper was a once every few games non-factor when he was emerging as a force for the Bulls. If not for his unorthodox style and the attention the novelty 'Tornado' draws it would never be an issue. He'll make his living in the post not as a jump shooter. Period(IMO). Could Kareem help him rediscover that burgeoning offensive game. It's hard to believe at this point in his career. Still, anything's possible.

    Somebody mentioned Bill Walton working with Roy Hibbert, but Hibbert was a known talent in the post coming out of Georgetown. So there you had something established and tangible to work with.

    The question remains I have is, is this regression due primarily to Jo or did Thibs deflate his confidence by telling him to just worry about rebounds and defense? Thibs was known as a favorite of Yao Ming's in Houston so it's hard to see him discouraging a big man. Still he does seem capable of pidgeonholing players with his mantra "do, your, job." He likes reliable, proven roles as he clings to former vets and gives little consideration for new contributions to take hold such as with Jimmy Butler. Butler may prove to be non-viable offensively, but he sure looked good in a few games, and then went back to obscurity basically.

    I always go back to that welcome to my home interview two years ago where Jo went out of his way to highlight his support hemp magnet on his fridge and stating cocunut water in the said fridge was "great for hangovers" with that dopey sarcastic I'm a hardcore partier Groucho marks teasing smile. With the problems he had run into with partying I would have thought a lesson learned would have made that type of behavior a thing of the past. I mean maybe a healthy NBA guy can puff the ocassional doob and still be a winner(that's debatable). But proclaiming it as a lifetsyle especially after getting into trouble and embarassing himself and the Bulls is not a good sign if you ask me.

    By now I suspect Jo is who he is. A window opened for him to reach another level, and then summarily slammed shut. He's a good starting center when you have a sound fundamental system for him to anchor. But he's never going to be much in the way of supplying an offensive game. Just an energy, opportunity guy, as his college coach Billy Donovan described him as upon entering the NBA years ago. Though if anyone can rediscover Jo's potential we glimpsed briefly it could be Kareem.

    The real question to me is, would the Bulls trade Jokaim Noah(?) who probably has the most value other then Derrick Rose, and a big contract for no real offense or well rounded team to boot. It takes value to get value. Can they get something significant done trading Taj or Omer(?) which would be preferable as Jo is the best big IMO.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Quote me that degrading statement you claim Noah's college coach Billy Donovan made about him being "just an energy opportunity guy."
    I remember Donovan getting into hot water and denying that he said Al Horford is the better player of the two. Donovan quickly vehemently denied he expressed that opinion. They are different players who play different positions and are key in their own roles.
    Florida would not have won those two national championships without either and they have not come close to winning another championship since both left for the NBA.

    For all his allround game, Atlanta thrived when Horford had to sit out key portions of the regular season and when Horford came back for the key final game of the post season, they lost!
    The year Horford made the all-star team, Noah was a certainty to be a backup to Dwight Howard on the East All-Star team until injury ruled him out. That's how Horford got his first all-star nod, as Noah's replacement. Everyone knew that Horford was playing out of position, but his people in Atlanta lobbied hard for him to be considered for the back-up position on the all-star team. That's why I'm mad at the ways Thibs has treated Noah since he got here.
    You're talking about the possibility of the Bulls trading Noah? I'd be happy if they did trade him because he would be able to play for a team and bloggers who really appreciate what he brings to his team. Then fans here in Chicago can crucify Omer Asik for his limitations.
    And please don't reduce one of the best centers in the game to just "a good starting center when you have a sound fundamental system for him to anchor."
    Also don't sell us here about Roy Hibbert being a "known talent in the post coming out of Georgetown." Noah outperformed him in those two years Florida won national titles. Hibbert got people's attention because he was a seven footer, played for Georgetown and was coached by John Thompson's son. And Hibbert never got Georgetown anyway near a national title. There was a reason why he was drafted so low despite his size. Check out his draft position.
    Be very careful when you make statements like this......"but Hibbert was a known talent in the post coming out of Georgetown. So there you had something established and tangible to work with."
    Hibbert was a year ago, reduced to a bench player on the Indiana Pacers. Lobbying by Hibbert and lazy people in the sports media and gullible posters, helped raise his stock to such a level that he made the All-Star team this year.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Is it just me, or are you really overly protective(to the point of weirdness) of your favorite player let me guess, Joakim Noah!!!!!(?)

    First of all, who said anything about Al Horford? I mean your springboarding my level and somewhat complimentary asessment of Noah into an argument with yourself over Al Horford and who meant more to the Gators Championship of 2000 and whossits? Are you really still mad at a college coach's appraisal from years ago? Seriously?

    Every time someone says anything scrutinizing Jo you start talking about his glory days at Florida. Dude, that was then and this is now. Lately you have lambasted anyone who dare has anything critical to say about Jo. I mean for his injury proness alone you can question him legitimately and objectively can you not? Are you going to sit here and tell us that Jo's chronic injury prone status including in these playoffs is not a concern?

    As for Roy Hibbert, check the sites and arcticles from the 2008 draft, "nicely developing post game" ring a bell? While Jo was regarded as a "Tyson Chandler" type whose "back to the basket game remains undeveloped."(Both quotes from NBAdraft.net.) And there are many others ESPN, Fox, Obvious.com

    And so what? Just because Hibbert was regarded as having the more refined offensive game doesn't make him a better player. You really need to layoff the Myron Knowitallowitz approach sans Mr. Happy, Bullsville(?) etc. etc.

    By the way speaking of Hibbert, who has played in nearly every NBA game since he ws selected before this season, the Pacer's big man is only averaging 12ppg on .512 shooting with 11 rebounds and three blocks a game. Numbers Jo would be proud of. Wha..? Huh? Whaa??

    Take an oral muscle relaxer(did I just say that?). We don't need another chortling, carping human pocket protector OK?
    The worst thing about guys like you is that you create non-issues and waste people's time having to refute negative opinions that were never even expressed. We've already got the f-ing media for that.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Excellent response and well written.

  • 1) Commitment! One of the things that made MJ so great was that he outworked most players, which is often not appreciated. Gym rats.

    How high is Noah's commitment? It has been weak in the past, not so much on the court, but the rest of the time. It costs to become great. Many will not pay the price.

    2) A second allstar is a huge upgrade for any team. Teams can get that if they have a brilliant FO (draft, talent evaluation). The Bulls have been above average at that, but not allout great. (That's why they got Boozer and Hamilton, whose contracts are now an issue. In fact, even the contracts of Deng and Noah are restricting.).

    The other way to get an allstar is FA or trade. That is what they need to do, but it doesn't happen if the FO overvalues it's trade assests, which is in the Bulls' history.

    Many thought the Clippers overpaid in the trade for Paul, but it looks great now.

  • Aside from the delightful discussion about Jo and Kareem's Excellent Adventure this summer(which may bear some fruit) oh god, did I just use the wrong form of the word bear/bare??!!! Damn it!

    Anyway, there's talk that the Laker's post second straight early playoff exit may be looking to make changes i.e shopping Gasol? Not that we necessarily want him, but still a capable offensive big who may be available. Where's that Boozer Pau swap contigent when you need them?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yikes. Never mind. Pau. $19 Mil a year is a litle rich for my blood especially off of two straight years of playoff doo doo performances.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I do think the Lakers will move Gasol ... he's nearly 32 and they need to move him while he still has some value.

    Problem is Gasol earns about 4 million more than Boozer. I doubt the Bulls would do it with Rose hurt. Don't see them "paying for a winner" and going into the tax next year.

  • Noah definitely should work on that baby hook shot that was pretty decent a few years ago, like Rose who needs to fine tune that inbetween floater and midrange jumper, especially since he probably won't be able to attack the basket right away like he did before. Anyway for Noah, one thing that gets overlooked is his ft shooting which is good for a big man. We've seen the Spurs playing the hack-a-shaq game with the Clippers bigs and I think it might of cost them a few games. I would just be happy if he was able to draw a few more fouls down low. Noah averaging 12 pts 12 rbs is his peak performance in my opinion but what about his great passing and ball handling? something that doesn't go into the stats. Noah shouldn't be traded unless we get a superstar in return. The Bulls should shop Deng or Boozer instead. Noah is on a reasonable contract. What did the Hornets coach say? he says he wants BIGS, size. That Boozer contract really screwed up the Bulls longterm plans, they should of been more spurs like and tried to get the cheaper option in Al Jefferson from the Twolves instead. Paxson brilliant? He's drafted well but Ben Wallace and contract mercenary Boozer as the two big prizes in free agency is pretty damn depressing from a Bull's fan point of view.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I doubt they would trade Noah unless as you said they could get a "superstar" or prolific scorer. I do think his injuries take his value down quite a but anwway in other team's eyes(as it should really) so why get undervalue back. Just stick with a good basketball player who after all isn't really the problem. With the salary situation you may have to trade a player for a pick(s), and take a chance on landing that potent scorer with an independent offensive game. Otherwise wait it out until next summer, and if Rose and Deng miss most of the year maybe a high lotto pick.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Sorry I meant to say a high pick relatively speaking perhaps lower lottery.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    The Bulls still might be able to be competitive. Let's say they buy out Hamilton's contract(5 mill) for this year and use that money on an offensive minded free agent. I'm not sure what they can get for that money, maybe Nick Young, Jamal Crawford,??? who can be disciplined defensively by thibs? The Blazers just released Armon Johnson, a pretty descent young pg. I just see the Bulls trying to get some pieces to stay in the playoff hunt until deng and rose come back and then make a hard push and see if they can land a 4th or 5th seed? I just don't see them tanking under any circumstances.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I'm not interested in Crawford. Maybe Nick Young though his overall percentages are not great.

    I don't like the idea of tanking either. If the Bulls did get a decent replacement for Derrick, and got Lu back earlier then some like K.C. who are sayng January and they are competitive as a .500 team or better what's wrong with that? Nothing. Though I don't think Derrick will be anywhere near the same player until the following season.

    It is possible though that they don't get an Andre Miller, but some lesser average or below player.And it's also very possible Deng doesn't come back too soon or fully healthy until mid to late January. By then they could have a fairly poor record. It is possible. Even if their draft pick from this year or Jimmy Butler turn out to be solid players , but still make the young, non-veteran mistakes that cost ball games. Yet that development and seeing what we have aside from immediate winning is important for the end goal. Winning it all.

    I don't reagrd that possibility as tanking. I just think you have to be smart enough if you are in that position not to get down on yourselves realizing your best two players are out. And realize there may be a silver lining. Especially if it turns out Butler has any kind of offense, and or they get lucky and draft some NBA ready offensive talent this summer. Even at .500 or below it could be an entertaining and compelling situation to watch knowing the cavalry will return, while we test and develop reinforcements. Plus Jo and Taj would be in a somewhat low pressure environment to get the ball more down low, and see if they can get a real low post game in gear. Tanking is not the point IMO. Next summer if they leave enough options salary wise there will be a lot of talent there to possibly land a really good all around player this time. Can you say Boozer amnesty?

  • Doug, I pretty much agree that the best thing about this news is that Noah is willing to put in the work to get better, and that he is open to accepting advice and input from others.

    However, Jabbar should be able to help Noah in ways that have nothing to do with his shooting style. Offensively, ugly shot aside, Noah's biggest problems are foot work, and knowledge of when and where to look for his offense. Jabbar should be able to help him a lot in both areas, which would improve Noah's offensive game to the point where he is no longer a liability and actually becomes a positive threat on offense, even if he never changes his shot.

    I agree with the poster above about Asik joining Noah and Kareem.

    Knowledge is power, this applies to athletics as well as real life.

  • I'm not trying to knock Omer, but he shot ..353 from the line on 6-17 free throws. Anyone watch the San Antonio v Clipper series? Reggie Evans and DeAndre Jordan were huge liabilities down the stretch of those ball games as Popovich Hack-a-Shaqued them time and again. He literally just took posessions away from L.A. That's why I was down on the Asik pick when they drafted him his poor free throw shooting was 40some percent at the time.

    He may be the guy you try and trade honestly if he does have good value to other teams.

  • Good points BigWay and RoadWarrior. As my late mother always said, behind every dark cloud, there's a silver lining. Everyone seems to think it's over and we are looking at lost seasons ahead in the immediate future, but some good could come out of this crisis.

  • What I find most telling about Kareem's comments from the Waddle & Silvy Show is he immediately identifies Noah's weakness as his shooting mechanics and lack of an offensive game, and continues to correctly identify the Bulls weakness as having no other offensive threat beyond Rose.

    Noah's extremely flawed shooting style (two-handed set shot) is a barrier to any significant improvement. Kareem says as much with his comment about needing to see what Noah was willing to do, and some guys are uncomfortable shooting the ball in various ways.

    The comments Noah himself made at seasons' end were about playing for France in the Olympics and strengthening his ankles, not working with Kareem and learning how to shoot a basketball correctly.

    I would love it if Noah could suddenly develop a turnaround jumper like Kevin Garnett has displayed playing center for Boston. But, imo, it ain't happening folks, not with Noah's mechanics at age 27. At age 17 maybe, but not 27. After 5 seasons, NBA players generally are who they are.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Now, here we go again Edward. You won't leave it alone. I called you "A JACKASS" a few days ago when you got into the issue of Noah, and I don't intend to again at this time.
    You hate his guts and that's your right, but don't come here on this blog at this time, posing as a rational observer of the game, because you're not. You have a long held agenda and I am here to expose you.

  • Edward, you expose your dislike of Noah with the following statement: "The comments Noah himself made at seasons' end were about playing for France in the Olympics and strengthening his ankles, not working with Kareem and learning how to shoot a basketball correctly,"

    Explain for me and any rational reader what Noah playing for France in the Olympics this Summer has to do with working with Kareem? Why do you want the player who you said can't and won't improve no matter what Kareem teaches him, forsake the opportunity of a lifetime.
    You are absolutely dumb and evil.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    For 'any rational reader' my post should be self-explanatory, SlamDunk, but for you who has repeatedly displayed his intellectual ceiling to lie somewhere between name-calling and misguided-tangential-rants, I guess I must connect the dots.

    Currently Noah is injured and getting his ankle healthy again. Noah will spend the majority of this summer in France and England preparing for and participating in the Olympics, not working with Kareem. Team France's first game is against USA on July 29. We can assume Noah will be practicing with Team France for most of July. After the Olympics end in mid-August there's about 6 weeks before Bulls open training camp. So how much time will Noah have to train with Kareem? A couple weeks? A few weeks? How can he transform his offensive game and fundamentally flawed two handed set shot in a few weeks? Will Kareem be tagging along the entire summer in Europe as Noah's private tutor?

    imo, Noah would need to spend months or even years with Kareem to make any significant progress with his shot and offensive game. The Waddle and Silvy Show Doug referenced in this blog where Kareem praised Noah was a full year ago on June 2, 2011. If Noah was so intent on improving his offensive skills why wasn't he training with Kareem during the entire lockout of 2011?

    I don't dislike Noah and I never said so. In fact, I like him on the Bulls roster and am happy the Bulls extended him early for $12 million per year when Chandler, Nene and Marc Gasol signed for more. However, I'm not infatuated with Noah and I'm capable of recognizing his limitations which are primarily offensive. Noah's 'two-handed set shot' is a joke/embarrassment and Noah should be ashamed he's never bothered to learn a fundamentally sound jump shot. Instead, Noah refers to his two-handed set shot as "artistic" and has no desire to correct it. Giving it a nickname doesn't improve it, nor will opposing defenses honor it. Instead, they'll double-team Rose which is a massive problem for the Bulls. Noah is a $12 million dollar player the opposition doesn't bother guarding. A few weeks with Kareem isn't going to change that, imo.

    Furthermore SD, if you'll look more closely you'll find I wasn't responding to your post I was writing regarding Doug's blog on this topic.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Completely agree Edward but your logical thinking may be wasted on him.

  • AGAIN!
    Why do you want the player who you said can't and won't improve no matter what Kareem teaches him, forsake the opportunity of a lifetime? Missing the Olympics, which the injured Deng won't do even if it jeopardises the Bulls' upcoming season, won't help improve his 'two-handed set shot," according to you.

    Edward, you said he's hopeless! Aren't you admitting by your foolish and biased remark that you just plainly hate the guy? Are you conveniently trying to soften your stance to save face? Exactly what's your point?
    For all the crying about Noah's "set shot" and lack of a sound "jump shot," Noah's excellence in other areas still make them formidable. For all your unhappiness, if the Bulls announce he's there to be had, there will be a riot by the top teams to acquire him because of his other skills and winning pedigree.
    By the way, Noah's mother describes his two-handed shot as artistic. And what's wrong with that? Also, what's his percentage of conversion of that ugly, horrible shot?
    You call yourself a Bulls fan and all you do is tear apart one of its most important players, every opportunity you get. I've never seen a similar performance by bloggers of any other team.
    As for Dave, you're a clown!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Yet another misguided-tangetial-rant combined with name-calling. SlamDunk is showing himself to be nothing more than a MissedFreeThrow.

    I never called Noah hopeless.
    I never suggested Noah not play in the Olympics.

    What I did suggest was:
    - Noah has extremely limited offensive skills that cannot be easily corrected or improved at the age of 27 after 5 NBA seasons.
    - Playing in the Olympics is a higher priority for Noah than working with Kareem, and will preclude Noah having significant time this off-season to work with Kareem so don't expect any sudden and significant offensive improvement from Noah.
    - I also suggested if Noah was serious about working with Kareem to improve his offense he could have done so last off-season during the lockout as Kareem's comments about Noah that Doug referenced in his blog were a full year ago, June 2, 2011.

    But of course, SlamDunk (aka MissedFreeThrow), you neglect to address anything I actually wrote, instead preferring to manufacture a straw-man-argument for another misguided-tangential-rant. Earlier this week, RoadWarrior called you out for this identical behavior, yet you persist.

    Being a fan can be far more than exhibiting blind patriotism. Particularly here on Doug Thonus' intelligent and insightful blog where he and the blog's participants comment as amateur GMs expressing our opinions on which direction the franchise should take on many varying issues. It seems that eludes you, MissedFreeThrow.

  • Edward, anybody can research your work and see how crooked and dishonest, or should we say sleazy, you are.
    You're no RoadWarrior or BigWay. Although I don't agree with every opinion piece expressed by them, their views are sane, entertaining and void of personal vendettas. You belong in a box by yourself.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Any vendettas are yours and yours alone. You are the one who is clinging to me, not vice versa, and you are the one in a box by yourself. RoadWarrior put you there quite nicely earlier this week. Frankly, I don't think you're capable of extracting yourself.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Edward,the appelation SLEAZEBAG was especially coined for brutes like you!

  • More name-calling by MissedFreeThrow. But this time with a twist, he's using ALL CAPS. Very Impressive!

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