Joakim Noah and Coach Thibodeau discussed the mechanics of Noah’s emerging, ugly-looking, but efficient jump shot.
It’s one of the ugliest things you’re going to see work pretty well on a
basketball court against the best players in the world. It’s Joakim
Last year, Noah attempted an average of one long two-point shot per game
at 16-23 feet from the basket, hitting 43% of them. Five games into
this season, he’s attempting 2.2 per game and hitting an astonishing —
and probably unsustainable — 73% of them. (Source: Hoopdata)
Sure, it’s a streak and variance will ensue, but his the ugly motion has
become very consistent, showing the rhythm is there and Noah has a very
strong head on his shoulders in terms of “staying in the game.”
He spoke about the shot after Sunday’s practice, Nick Friedell reported
at ESPN, calling it “artistic.” That consistent rhythm and confidence
seems to be largely a product of — you guessed it — a real coach:
While Noah’s confidence in his new shot may surprise some people, Bulls
head coach Tom Thibodeau clearly isn’t one of them. He spent countless
hours in the gym with his 25-year-old center this summer, working on
Noah’s form and release point, and from the outset of training camp he
has been the one telling Noah to take the shot when he’s open.
“Quite honestly, he hasn’t [surprised me] because I saw him shoot
all summer and consistently he was knocking that shot down,” Thibodeau
said. “My thing is, as long as you’re working that hard and it’s going
in, then I don’t have a problem with you shooting it if you’re open. It
looks a little different, but it goes in. That’s the bottom line.”
The jump shot is just one aspect of the offensive metamorphosis that
Noah has undergone. While his post moves are still developing under the
tutelage of Thibodeau and big man coach Ed Pinckney, he is certainly not
the liability around the basket that he was when he came out of
“He can shoot that [jumper] and then if you close on him he can blow
by you,” Thibodeau said. “And his jump-hook game is very effective
inside. He’s active on the offensive boards, he knows how to move
without the ball, he’s scoring different ways, and I think in transition
he’s running the floor great.”
The post moves aren’t there, but unlike Dwight Howard — who, contrary
to popular opinion, does have post moves — Noah’s good shooting starts
at the FT line, where he shot 74.4% last season and is shooting 80%
early in this season. Better, the added aggressiveness from him on the
offensive end has him getting to the line more than five times per game,
up from his career average of a bit under three and up from the 3.4 per
game from last season, his first full one as a starting center.
Indeed, Noah’s unorthodox shot, humorously nicknamed “The Tornado” by
assistant coach Ron Adams during Noah’s rookie season, is a
sideways-spinning affair sprung from a low release that never will be
confused by [Carmelo Anthony’s] sweet form.
“But if you watch the final phase, it’s actually pretty good,” Thibodeau
said. “Where he finishes, he has good follow through, good extension.
He’s very accurate.”
I like it.