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.