“I’m grinding every day. That’s all I can do. I’m working hard every day, trying to get better. I can do better. I will do better.”
Archive for Joakim Noah
I love basketball players that play with energy.
Whether it’s on the defensive end of the floor, hitting the offensive boards or running the floor hard; if you play with energy, people will take notice.
If you have been watching the NBA playoffs, you have heard coaches talk about “playing with energy,” or, “we gotta bring more energy,” and the sad/disturbing quote, “we didn’t play with energy.” Some call them clichés or coach-speak; I’m here to tell you they are gospel!
This past Saturday ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy made an eye-opening, but not surprising statement on basketball. “
Joakim Noah is NOT one of those players JVG is talking about. Last night Noah’s energy willed the Chicago Bulls to a 90-82 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in game two to even the series at one. With his performance, Noah joined my “Soldiers” crew in the playoffs joining Chris Anderson, Kenyon Martin, Gerald Wallace, Matt Barnes, Tyler Hansbrough, Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka.
“Just trying to affect the game. Just find a way,” Noah said.
Like usual, Noah was all over the floor. Finishing at the rim, setting screens, snatching offensive boards, helping on defense with deflections and blocking shots.
“Noah plays the game for the love of it,” said Bulls teammate Nate Robinson. “He plays with his heart on his sleeve.”
And it shows Nate!
Resolve. Hustle. Determination. Guts. Hunger. Grit. Heart. Bring the juice. Call it what you want. These are just a few words to describe a player’s responsibility when they step on the floor.
“A guy who gives you less than what he has to give is one, telling you what he thinks of you (coach) and two, telling you what he thinks of himself,” said Pete Carril.
You don’t have to worry about Noah giving all he has.
“Jo’s giving us everything he has,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Whether you agree or not, it’s the player’s responsibility to come to play every night. But when is this desire formed? Here’s Noah’s high school coach, Billy McNally from Poly Prep.
In my two years coaching Jo without question what stands out most to me was the way he was in practice. He was incredible. His desire to improve and his attention to detail. I think what makes him a great player is that first of all he is a great person. His will is so strong and his unselfishness so genuine. Jo would go all out in the smallest drill; a warm up, free throws, whatever. He was so receptive to every small teaching point.
Long before “motor” became a buzz word. Jo was a terrific “buy in” guy. We had a great culture and an awesome core group of guys at Poly (Prep) when he joined us. Jo was all about the team right away.
When I see him play now I say what I’ve always believed; he plays the game, within the game, within the game. If you don’t go hard he makes you pay.
I think the way Jo plays has been great for the game and kids who want to know how you should play.
Like him or not, Noah has always played hard and with energy; he knows no other way. Noah is one of those players you hate to play against but would love to have on your team.
“Overall, our team played passionate basketball. That’s a plus because it was ugly in that Game 1,” said Noah.
Basketball players that play with energy love to compete. Players who don’t play with energy are too cool. You want guys that compete. Too many players go through the motions and will not do the little things to help their team win. Too many people in basketball put too much emphasis on stats. It’s about time we reward and recognize players like the group of soldiers. Maybe Five Hour Energy can sponsor this group. But make no mistake, these guys don’t need that crap. They play hard because they care. It’s their continuous effort, that keeps them on the floor.
Chasing and diving after loose balls. Crashing the offensive glass and moving your feet on defense. Bouncing off the bench when the coach calls your number, sprinting up and down the floor in transition and showing enthusiasm; all traits connected to successful players.
After the game at his press conference Thibodeau said Noah, “Willed it.”
A player’s “Will” is tied into passion and energy and it usually equals success. Last night Noah scored 11 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked two shots and handed out three assists.
I scratch my head and often wonder why more players don’t play with energy? There’s a quote about playing hard that I have memorized, “If you don’t have the effort, and you’re not enthusiastic, you won’t be efficient!”
ESPN and TNT go bananas over dunks. I wish they would spend the same amount of time on “hustle plays” as they do when guys dunk. It doesn’t take a talent or a top 10 national player rating.
“Just found a way,” Noah said last night in the press conference following Chicago’s road victory.
Finding a way is a trait energy guys possess. Finding a way is what “winners” do on a daily basis.
“Losers” are lost when it comes to “finding a way.”
Noah has been battling plantar fasciitis, an injury he refuses to use as an excuse. Energy guys don’t use excuses. If you have never had this injury, take a sharp object and stick it in your arch and rip it to shreds (Just kidding, don’t do that). Trust me though, it is painful.
By the way, Jo needs to do something about those Le Coq Sportifs he wears on his feet.
I love watching Noah play the game at both ends of the floor. The former Poly Prep standout is a player that every coach would love to have on their team. When Noah steps on the floor, he empties his tank. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Noah’s bench behavior. When the Bulls are playing well and he’s resting on the bench, he’s the first one up to cheer them.
Bernard King’s Journey to Springfield: Hubie Brown on Bernard. “The temptation is to focus on the two games where Bernard scored 50 points in Texas back-to-back, a great achievement. But in my mind, the really amazing thing was his playoff series against the Detroit Pistons. He averaged better than 40 points per game with two dislocated fingers. He made it look so easy that people didn’t realize the pain he experienced just catching the ball. He shot 60% from the floor during that stretch.” (New Yorker Magazine Sept. 17, 1984)
1-Chicago Sun-Times on Joakim Noah attempting to bring kids together for a peaceful basketball game in Chicago.
2-CBS Sportsline has a story on Duke’s Men’s basketball team now using i-pads.
3-On this day, 9/27/02 the Harlem Globetrotters were enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a team. They originated in Chicago in 1927 by Abe Saperstein.
4-The Refs are back and ready to go in the NFL. How long will it take for someone to complain when they make a bad call?
Conference competition in high school and college basketball is beginning to get serious around the country.
This is the time when the coaches are more familiar with the opposition. The scouting reports have a little bit more content in them, there typed up and passed out to the players. Some call it the ‘second of three seasons’ overall. (The 3rd season is the playoffs).
Sure we were treated to some big games the first two months with top ranked teams squaring off but now it gets down to separating the pretenders from the contenders.
Run the offense…
Did you happen to see Kobe Bryant’s numbers last night in a 99-90 loss to the Denver Nuggets? 6-28 shooting from the field. 1-8 downtown. 2 rebounds, 6 turnovers in 36 minutes. The Lakers are 3-3.
J. Michael Falgoust of the USA Today on DeMarcus Cousins. The Sacramento Kings center was left home after he demanded a trade. I have watched him twice early in the season and he looks upset at every play. His body language needs improvement. I think he has amazing potential. He has great size, runs the floor well and it looks like his post moves have improved.
“When a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling, unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely,” head coach Paul Westphal said. “DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game tonight.”
Clarence Gaines Jr. is a former NBA scout. He’s also a friend that I met on Twitter a couple of years ago. Here’s his take via his blog on Cousins and the all important ‘Character’ of an athlete.
I’m not privy to what’s happening in the Kings organization. Geoff is a smart and realistic GM. I’m certain that he will look at Cousins past incidents, listen to valued people in his organization and make a decision that will cause DeMarcus to think about his recent actions. It is about impulse control and how you channel that anger in a positive manner. It’s about teaching DeMarcus how to communicate and utilize words to accomplish his objectives instead of creating a wedge by them. It’s about anger management. It’s about putting him with a psychologist who can help him with these life skills.
Should Geoff suspend him? Maybe, but I know whatever he does, it will be well thought out and in the best interests of DeMarcus. Because what is best for DeMarcus, will be what is best for the Kings in the long run.
Side note – I was raised in a basketball organization that valued character. I worked with the Chicago Bulls for 11 years. Personal character does matter, but every organization should strike a balance between “basketball character” vs. “personal character” in determining if an athlete fits on their team. The Bulls had high “personal character” guys, but also valued “basketball character” over “personal character” if an athlete could help them accomplish their team goals. I’ll give you one example, there are others. Dennis Rodman. Do I need to say more?
Without Cousins last night, the King beat the Hornets 96-80 for their first win of the season. A coaching friend once said, “the train is leaving the station; you’re either on board or you’re not.”
Shams Charania Chicago Now.com on the Bulls win last night over the Grizzlies. Brian Scalarbrine and Jimmy Butler were both on the floor late in the game. Yes, it was a blowout. The Bulls are in mid-season form.
From top to bottom, the Chicago Bulls were pleased with their effort in a convincing 104-64 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night at the United Center. They had four players in double figures, scored 33 fastbreak points, dominated the glass 55-40, piled up 24 assists on 39 field-goals and 12 blocks and got to the basket all night, appearing at the free throw line 29 times.
“We played good basketball tonight,” Bulls center Joakim Noah told reporters after the game. “But we know there’s a lot of games coming up, and we’re just on to the next one. We’re just going to get ready and focus on Atlanta coming up.”
Syracuse wins their 15th straight game 87-68 over Depaul.
Ray Fittipaldo from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Cincy’s win over Pitt 66-63. The Panthers have lost 3 straight.
Michael Manganello from the Tampa Bay Online with South Florida over Rutgers 67-65. Solid home win for Stan Heath and his Bulls.
Nick Baumgarnder of the Ann Arbor News with Michigan’s 61-56 win over Minnesota.
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“The less determined and the less motivated weed themselves out.”
The Miami Heat finished off the Chicago Bulls last night with an amazing come from behind victory, 83-80. Biggest problem with that is the crew at TNT is going fishing!
Yesterday on Twitter I tweeted “I would not count Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah out tonight…matter of fact, save this Tweet, I’m going with Bulls tonight.”
I was wrong. I’ll admit it. Most people are afraid to admit it when they’re wrong, not me.
After Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer hit a free-throw with 3:14 to play in the game, Chicago led 76-64; Chicago’s equipment manager made a mad dash for the locker room and packed up the red uniforms. He also stuffed the envelopes with the $115 per diem for each player. (On the road, and not in uniform, does Brain Scalarbrine of the Bulls still get per diem?)
The Bulls were going back to Miami for game 6; my tweet was looking good, so I thought. That is, until the best player in the game decided to take over.
Miami outscored Chicago 18-4 and ended the Bulls season.
LeBron James showed everyone why he’s the best player in the game. During this run, LBJ scored 8 pts and made a couple of big defensive stops. For all those who say James can’t shoot from the outside, need to let you know he made 2 big three-point jump shots from way downtown.
In the 4th quarter the former Cavalier had 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot.
For the 5 game series James finished with 33 assists, the same amount as Chicago’s point guard Derrick Rose. What position does James play?
Rose may of been the MVP for the entire season but LeBron is the best player in the league.
I admire how Rose holds himself accountable, something many players would never do; “Everything is on me — turnovers, missed, shots, fouls … If anything, I’ll learn from it. That’s all I can do right now. The series is over.” On the night, Rose shot 9-29 from the field. Best believe, he will be in the gym soon working hard, getting ready for next season. Chicago has a very special player.
Scottie Pippen, this morning on the Mothership radio station said “Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game, but I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved.” Hmmm…here’s a tweet by Pippen after everyone has been firing back at him. “For all of you that don’t know, I played the game you keep watching and cheering.” No Scottie, I didn’t know you played, which team were you on? LOL
The Bulls are going fishing and the Heat are moving to the NBA finals which begin Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks. Which by the way I wish ABC would add Hubie Brown to the telecast.
I watch the Dan Patrick Show as often as possible. He has a basket set up in his studio in which he often shoots long jumpers. By the way, no way it’s regulation height. One thing Danny boy, all your shots are uncontested. I want to see McLovin close out on you!
Have a great Memorial Day weekend! Drive safe and keep a cool stool…
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore
The Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies both took a 1-0 lead in their best of seven series yesterday with the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder respectively.
Dwyane Wade of the Heat went for 38 points and Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies went for 34 points and 10 rebounds.
The Grizzlies win is the shocker. After beating the San Antonio Spurs 4-2 Memphis went to Oklahoma City and put a thumping on OKC 114-101. Not only did Randolph have a big game but Marc Gasol chipped in with 20 points and 13 rebounds. These two bookends have done an amazing job in the playoffs.
Zach is an interesting player. Back in 2000 when Randolph was a senior in high school he lost out to Jared Jeffries for Indiana Mr. Basketball. After enrolling at Michigan State he came to Michigan State for one season where he helped lead the Spartans to the Final Four. Randolph was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers where he spent six seasons. During the 2006-07 season Z-Bo scored 23 points per game. After a stint with the Knicks and Clippers Randolph has found a home.
“We believe,” Randolph said. “We definitely believe. Our confidence is up high. I tell the guys we can compete and play with anybody.”
Just when you thought the game of basketball is dominated by guard play, and maybe it is, these two big men (Randolph and Gasol) lead their team to huge wins.
Kendrick Perkins, who was brought in by the Thunder to improve their chances of winning a championship put this loss on his shoulders, “I take full accountability of this game,’’ said the 6-foot-10, 280-pound [Kendrick] Perkins, who had a mere two points and six rebounds. “I feel like I let us down.’’
In Miami Paul Pierce was ejected from the game midway through the 4th quarter after getting hit with his second technical foul of the game. One the first James Jones clearly fouled him hard, so Pierce felt disrespected. On the second ‘T’ Wade decided to crash through Pierce’s screen. The former Kansas Jayhawk once again felt violated. TWEET! Second tech, you’re gone. Eddie Malloy, the official wasn’t going for it.
Seems like after this interview yesterday with NBA official Danny Crawford via CBS Sports, Malloy tossed Pierce for taunting.
Following is the transcript of an interview with crew chief Dan Crawford conducted by designated pool reporter Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press explaining what the Celtics‘ Paul Pierce did to warrant a second technical foul, resulting in his ejection from the Heat‘s 99-90 victory over the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals:
Q: What did Paul Pierce do to merit the 2nd technical with 7:00 remaining?
Crawford: ”It’s what we call a verbal taunt. He directed profanity towards (Dwyane) Wade. And in the rulebook, that is a verbal taunt. And it just so happened to be Pierce’s second technical foul.”
Q: What did Pierce do for the technical after the (James) Jones foul with 7:59 left?
Crawford: ”The first technical foul, it was contact during a dead ball. He approached Jones and got right in his face. There wasn’t a head-butt, but he got right into his face after a hard foul.”
Q: Why did Jones merit a technical with 7:59 remaining?
Crawford: ”We just looked at that. It was Jones’ hard foul that pretty much precipitated Paul doing what he did. The technical foul on Jones will probably be looked at. He didn’t do as much as we thought. We thought he got in and became aggressive or initiated. But after looking at video, that’s something that we’ll have to look at again.”
Q: And was Wade’s technical for the foul, verbal taunting or otherwise?
Crawford: ”He actually walked toward Pierce and that’s why Wade received his, walking toward Pierce and then Pierce’s reaction to that.”
Rajon Rondo, who destroyed the Knicks a week ago was ineffective against Miami. He picked up two quick fouls and was never able to get the Celtics fastbreak going. Rondo was 3-10 from the field with 7 assists, 7 rebounds and 5 turnovers. Kevin Garnett was another Celtic who didn’t play well. In 37 minutes of burn KG shot 3-7 from the field and didn’t attempt one free-throw.
Congratulations to Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls who was named Coach-of-The-Year.
“He stays in late,” Joakim Noah said. “He’s the first one here. He was there for me all summer working me out. I felt like I really improved as a player because of him.”
Carlos Boozer has injured his big toe? My message to him, “don’t miss any playoff action because of this injury.” You suit up and help your teammates.
Big ups to ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy for bringing up the fundamentals displayed by some of the players in the Heat/Celtics game. Most announcers are in love with the high flying dunks, which add to the downfall of the game in America. It’s a shame more announcers don’t get this important area of the game.
I wish the networks (ESPN and TNT) who cover the NBA would stop pushing meaningless stats down our throats. Any athlete or coach knows anything that has happened in the past between the two teams has zero meaning on a current playoff game.
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore