Joakim Noah's passing is among the best of big men. He's become Derrick Rose's favorite target on the perimeter when he gets trapped by a double-team or calls a play where he creates with others off the ball.
Brett Koremenos on Joakim Noah's Point-Center-iness
In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, Noah had four assists. With 28 assists in 12 playoff games this year, he's averaging 2.6 per 36 minutes, assisting 11.3% of the Bulls FGs when he's on the court with a low 10.7% turnover rate. For comparison, he averaged 2.4 per 36 at a 10.7% rate with a higher 15.7% turnover rate. We haven't only seen him man the point more often in the UCLA sets run by the Bulls, but also in the pick n' roll and leading fastbreaks.
And you know what? It looks good. The offensive diversifies and the ball is in good, intelligent hands. Including the playoffs, Noah's had four or more assists in 14 of his 60 games played and the Bulls are 11-3 in those; 18-6 when he has three or more. The shift's been greater in the playoffs with Noah logging three assists in six of the 12 games -- five of the Bulls' nine wins.
Noah has the court vision, patience to let plays mature, the handles to dribble and move a defense, and an adept bounce pass that makes him a perfect candidate for Rose's hockey assists, Brett Koremenos noted Monday (HoopSpeak).
Koremenos broke down the Bulls counters to two pick n' roll plays from Game 1 where the Heat trapped Rose after using the screen. I've criticized Rose's ability to hit the screen setter quickly in the PNR, but with more Noah and less Carlos Boozer two-man game used by Rose, Rose's strength to pass to the FT circle -- as opposed to a hard cutter toward the basket -- becomes a positive.
Especially, as hard as the Heat were hedging the ball, this allowed for Boozer to attack the basket with ease off the ball and Noah threaded the needle in the first play Koremenos broke down. In the second, Joel Anthony stays home on Boozer at the basket, but the pick n' roll that drew Chris Bosh to over-help without a hard hedge forced Dwyane Wade to stray from Keith Bogans to help on Noah; and Noah found Bogans for a wide open 3-pointer.