Don’t expect too many skyhooks from Joakim Noah

When word leaked that Joakim Noah had spent time over the summer working with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and master of the skyhook — there was some rather eager anticipation regarding just what Noah learned from the legend. Specifically: Would Jo start dropping skyhooks this season?

The answer: Maybe…but probably not that many.

Noah’s words courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“I feel a lot more polished offensively. I worked with Kareem for a couple of weeks, but just because I worked with Kareem doesn’t mean I’m going to be throwing skyhooks from everywhere. I feel like I learned a lot from him, someone who has an unbelievable knowledge for the game and very interesting guy.

“But you know how it is — you work with him and people think, ‘Oh, he’s going to come back with a skyhook.’ Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.”

No. It really doesn’t work like that.

When people hear that somebody has spent time in the offseason working with and being tutored by a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or a Hakeem Olajuwon, they often expect a dramatic makeover in the pupils’s game.

Doesn’t happen.

A basketball player’s overall game isn’t created overnight, nor can it be changed overnight. The player might learn a couple new moves or how to better prepare for a game. But it’s more about tweaking than overhauling.

We already know that Noah brings a lot to the table offensively. But we also know that Noah has averaged only 8.9 PPG over his career with a career-high of 11.7 PPG during the 2010-11 season.

Two weeks with Kareem isn’t going to transform Noah into a 15-20 PPG player. A more reasonable hope — considering Rose will likely miss most of the season and therefore his shot attempts will be redistributed — is for Noah to score in the 12-14 PPG range. Although he’ll likely do that in a variety of ways, as he’s always done, including fastbreak dunks/layups, putbacks from offensive rebounds, the occasional post move and a jump shot here or there.

Kareem spent years and years honing and perfecting his footwork, body control, and, yes, his skyhook. Noah has had, what, a couple months to work with the knowledge Kareem shared? And, by Noah’s own admission, he hasn’t gotten much full-strength on-court work in due to recovery from his ankle injury:

“I’ve been trying to do stuff on the court the whole summer but I feel like I was able to go on the court 100 percent maybe three weeks ago, about a month ago. Just staying on it, working on it all the time. Just doing ankle rehab; it’s something that I think I’m going to have to do the rest of my career.”

Personally, I can’t wait to see Jo unleash a skyhook, and I’m really hoping to see an improvement in some of the little facets that comprise a post game (footwork, positioning, and so on). But I’m not expecting an extreme makeover.

3 Responses to Don’t expect too many skyhooks from Joakim Noah

    Slap Dog Hoops October 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    In all honesty, I expected him to be a FAR better offensive player when he came out of the University of Florida. Unfortunately he has basically been frozen in the same role in the Bulls as his game has not evolved more than being a solid role player. Hopefully he will show more of an offensive repitiore than he has his entire career.

    BoppinBob October 12, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    At U of F his jump shot was the same as it is now horrible. Shame on the Bull training staff and Noah for not correcting his mechanics before now, especially when he can see how hard Rose works on improving his game. At U of F he was a garbage/clean-up guy which is how he scores for the Bulls now. Maybe Thibs can motivate him to improve his scoring potential, otherwise look at trading him, because the Bulls will need points from the center to take advantage of the Heats weakness.


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