Joakim Noah is a strange and polarizing player. Few people ever feel luke-warm about the Chicago Bulls center. Why I don’t like the energetic center? The All-Star game did it in for me. He elbowed Chris Paul in the face while running back in transition at one point after Paul scored on him and just… come on man. Throwing elbows? At the All-Star Game?? On the smallest player on the floor?
I know, I know, Noah said after the game that he only ever plays at one speed and when he is in game mode, then he is in game mode. I get that and I even respect it, but I don’t have to like it. To me, it is a just a little bit cowardly to hit the smallest player on the floor with a ‘bow in a meaningless game, and it lacks class as well. There is a time and a place for that kind of play and it is called the playoffs.
The other All-Stars on the floor that weekend already knew the drill. No hard fouls (or even any real defense the first three quarters), and then in the fourth everyone can actually play hard.
Noah is a proven All-Star and his energetic play and crisp passing this year along with Luol Deng have kept the Bulls at a playoff level, but that doesn’t mean I have to like Noah’s approach. His ugly jump shot doesn’t help his case with me, by the way. The Bulls probably can’t compete for a championship this year even if Derrick Rose returns, but I’m sure Noah likes his Bulls’ chances in the playoffs regardless. I just don’t like their chances, or Noah for that matter.