Trans. Oct 20 3:18 ET (Oct 20 3:18 ET ) Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has always found a sound balance between the frantic and ferocious nature of his game and off-court tranquility, though many have jokingly chalked that up to Joakim’s particular strain of recreational activities. The same cannot be said for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who reportedly has very little in terms of a personal life outside of basketball, in between putting in marathon shifts and sometimes sleeping at the team’s practice facility. The secret to Noah’s success in keeping things outwardly chill? He won’t and shouldn’t give it the full credit, but apparently yoga helps quite a bit. And he’s convinced it would help with his volatile and single-minded coach. From an interview with Bill Schulz at the Daily Beast : Coach Thibodeau always looks like he’s on the verge of an aneurism. What, if anything, could you do to calm him down? He looks like that whether he’s happy or sad. But I’d have him do yoga with me. He could use that. What’s the most pissed off he’s ever been at you? He gets pissed off a LOT. But he never makes any clash we have public, and he calms me down a lot as well. He knows when to let me vent. I’d pay good money to see a sitcom starring you two as comically mismatched roommates. I don’t know if could watch that. I don’t know if I could watch that, either. I’d rather be watching the East’s best center and best coach take their odd coupling to the basketball court. I’m hardly an expert, but yoga does help. On days that I practice it, I feel less anxious, centered, sometimes more positive and definitely more focused than usual. Noah has such an unusual game with the physical demands of both a guard and a bruising big man that it only makes sense that he would start his day with an exercise that involves calming and physical activity. Perhaps coach Thibs would be well-served to join him in a session. Both are wonderfully intriguing cases as we head into 2013-14. Noah might be the son of a tennis legend (Yannick Noah, 1983 French Open winner), but he was hardly a basketball prodigy – a unique and self-taught player that had to work his way into high school and college prominence in ways that you would hardly call “orthodox.” From a snippet from Jonathan Abrams’ feature at Grantland : “I wasn’t pampered by the process,” Noah said. “A lot of these guys from a young age, especially when you’re a top player in your age group, you get a lot of people telling you how great you are. Everyone wants to be your friend. I never had that. I had to deal with that a little bit because of who my father was, but as a basketball player I didn’t have to deal with that.” Instead of competing at ABCD, Noah mopped and dried the courts and worked the hot dog stand while LeBron James, Sebastian Telfair, and other prep standouts hustled up and down the floor. “He was the cutest, most lovable, horrible basketball player I ever saw at that age,” [camp leader Sonny] Vaccaro said of Noah. “But he had this determination. He cleaned the floor. We called him the tennis guy.” “The tennis guy” turned out to be a major recruit for Florida University, where he went on to win two NCAA titles. That led to a gig with the Bulls, in what was thought to be an apprenticeship under former Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace. Wallace was not keen to instruct the excitable rook, though, and the two clashed. It took the acquisition of journeyman Brad Miller – just about Noah’s polar opposite – for things to click. By this time, Miller (who became fast friends with Joakim) was a master at high post passing, finding cutters and lanes when plays broke down, making others better with just the flick of the wrist. Offensively, Noah learned from Miller’s moves, leading to a near-historic batch of center-styled passing during the 2013-14 campaign. That season ended with a one-sided first round loss to the Washington Wizards, as the Bulls once again look to steel themselves for a long and arduous season that will no doubt come into contact with a LeBron James-led group during the playoffs. James’ teams have ended Noah’s seasons three times in the last five seasons, and the two are notoriously cold to one another. What matters in the months before that pairing, even if the two do play each other on Monday night in a meaningless exhibition game, is Noah’s health. He was playing on a knee that required surgery during Chicago’s 2014 playoff run, and he’s still recovering from what the team is calling an arthroscopic procedure (though the recovery time from such a procedure is usually far shorter than what the team listed over the summer and what Noah is working through right now). Joakim says that he’s improving, but this is a crucial year for his Bulls. New signee Pau Gasol is already 34, Noah turns 30 midway through the season, and the time to win is now. There is the fear that Noah’s legs and Tom Thibodeau’s big basketball brain – two assets that were put to the test with Derrick Rose missing nearly all of two seasons – might be reaching a straining point. That things might be fit for a collapse. An understandable collapse, but perhaps an unavoidable one. Maybe if Tom bought a mat and joined in a time or two, the Bulls could stretch this out. (Also, yeah, if you’re wondering, Joakim Noah still has other calming influences to turn to .) If a player tests positive for marijuana, the first penalty is an automatic four game suspension and mandatory counseling. Yet, the league now has TWO franchises in states where pot is legal: do players discuss this ridiculousness? Everybody sees the hypocrisy. To paraphrase Peter Tosh, if Illinois were to legalize it, would you advertise it? [ Smiles ] To quote Bob Marley: Time will tell. So, there’s that. I’ve only heard the Black Crowes version of that song, so I can’t possibly know what Joakim is referring to. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
Joakim Noah played 27 minutes against the Hawks on Thursday with seven points, 13 boards, four assists, one steal and three blocks.
The Scoop:His knee soreness seems to be behind him and he was active under the basket tonight. Noah is not going to be asked to do nearly as much, so fantasy owners shouldn't be expecting him to be a top-20 guy again. Plus, he did have some injuries before his big 2013-14 season.
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN the Magazine . The great Wright Thompson on Derrick Rose, whose "second mission begins now, and, as with the first one" — the mission to "escape his neighborhood and his old life," to buy his mom a new house, to "change the arc of his family" — the Chicago Bulls point guard "doesn't know how it will end." Brilliant stuff. PF : Nylon Calculus . More 3-pointers. A stylistic shift toward more free-flowing offense, plus fewer elite defenses dotting the landscape. Could it all lead to a new NBA record for league-wide offensive efficiency this season? SF : Ballerball . A bit of brake-pumping satire on how the advent of NBA jersey advertisements will ruin everything: "With this move, the NBA will slide further and further into oblivion, much like soccer, the world’s largest sport." SG : GordonHayward20.com . There are, as you might expect, quite a few gems in Jonathan Abrams' feature on Joakim Noah's come-up as "probably the most unprecedented success story in basketball in America," but my personal favorite comes from his high-school coach's description of Noah's college recruitment: "'And Duke was calling,' McNally said, 'but he didn’t really see himself as a Dukie.'" No, I'd imagine not. PG : RealGM . Danny Leroux looks at the completed deals involving 2015 NBA draft picks, and the protections in place on those selections, to try to determine which teams could find themselves compelled to take the foot off the gas late in the season — or, to use a more unkind descriptor, to tank — so they don't lose their pick. (We're looking at you, Sacramento.) 6th : NBA.com . The great David Aldridge's weekly Morning Tip column comes packed with enough good stuff — on how the NBA's new multibillion-dollar TV deal will impact contract negotiations , how the Minnesota Timberwolves are keeping No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins under wraps, how Stan Van Gundy divides his day as the Detroit Pistons' head coach and president of basketball operations, etc. — to last us a full week. 7th : Grantland . Kirk Goldsberry uses the NBA's SportVU optical tracking data to dig deep on rebounding direction, figuring out where missed shots taken from different parts of the court are most likely to end up, which has been a pretty popular topic at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference over the past couple of years. 8th : The Hook . Tom Ziller, longtime Sacramento Kings fan and confirmed Los Angeles Lakers hater, tries to figure out why exactly he doesn't hate Kobe Bryant anymore. 9th : The Triangle . Zach Lowe makes 33 predictions for the coming season, which makes for fun reading. 10th : Pounding the Rock . Lee Dresie recalls what it was like to coach against Gregg Popovich during his Division III days at Pomona-Pitzer, ages before he'd ascend to the ranks of the all-time greats through his work with the San Antonio Spurs: "The games were so loud that we had to call in plays and defenses by holding up pieces of cardboard with different colors or numbers on them because the players didn't have a chance of hearing us over the crowd." - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
The Scoop:Coach Thibodeau will monitor Noah's playing time along with Rose's based on how they look throughout the game. Noah will remain a top center this year as long as he stays healthy and he will cost an early round selection for prospective owners.