Scouting Report: Joakim Noah


Name: Joakim Noah (pronounced JO-a-kim)
Position: PF/C
Height: 6’10”
Weight: 232 pounds
Birth Date: February 25, 1985 (24 years old)
Birth Place: New York, NY
Number: 13
Nicknames: Dr. No, Jo, Jo-No, Noah Kim-Joa, The Joker
College: Florida
Drafted: 2007, 1st Round, 9th overall by Chicago
Experience: 2 seasons
Previous teams: None
Contract: $2.4 million in 2009-10, $3.1 million in 2010-11 (team option)
Expect: Rebounding, blocked shots, crazy energy, crazier hair
Don’t expect: Much scoring

On offense:
Noah’s offense is extremely limited, which probably explains why his career high in points (19) is less than his career high in rebounds (20). Sure, Noah led the Bulls in Effective Field Goal Percentage last season (.556), but almost all of his scoring comes of layups, dunks and putbacks. According to, 94 percent of his field goal attempts were inside (where he had an eFG% of .577). Only six percent of his attempts were jump shots (on which he had an eFG% of .227). So, unlike some Bulls players — coughTyrusThomascough! — at least Noah knows his limitations.

Last season, 80 percent of his dunks and nearly 60 percent of his inside shots were assisted, so it’s pretty obvious that Noah doesn’t generally look to create his own offense. He’s almost strictly a finisher. Oddly enough, despite an increase in MPG (from 20.7 to 24.2), Noah’s per-36-minutes scoring average actually dropped from 11.5 his rookie season to 10.0 last year. There were times during the 2008-09 campaign when you could tell that he was hesitant to shoot the ball. If the Bulls are going to succeed this season — during which they have to replace Ben Gordon’s 20 PPG — Noah is going to have to trust his offense. Which also means he’ll have to actually develop some.

There are some rumors that Noah has spent significant time this summer adding strength, working on his post game and improving his lower body mechanics and overall balance. Let’s hope those rumors prove true. I think his game could really blossom if he added a few go-to scoring moves. He already does a great job running out in transition.

Beside the scoring issue, Noah can be a crafty passer when he actually touches the ball. He’s also a demon on the offensive glass. Last season, Noah ranked 2nd in the NBA in Offensive Rebounds Per 48 Minutes (6.0). Offensive rebounding is all about desire and effort, and Noah certainly doesn’t lack in those departments. He’s also a willing and able screener.

On defense:
What Noah lacks in offensive proficiency he makes up for in defensive intensity. While it’s true that bigger, stronger post players (like Shaq or even Al Jefferson) can usually outmuscle him down low, he’s pretty accomplished in most other areas. His transition defense is fantastic, he can pick up smaller, quicker players on switches, and he rotates extremely well. He can even press and trap when asked to do so, mostly due to his natural athleticism and (more importantly) his willingness to scramble all over the floor.

Last season, Noah ranked 15th in the NBA in Blocks Per Game (1.38) and 13th in Blocks Per 48 Minutes (2.72). With more minutes, I believe he could easily rank in the top 10, maybe even the top five. Same with rebounding. Noah feasts on the defensive glass, which is why last season he ranked 7th in the NBA in Defensive Rebounds Per 48 Minutes (11.3).

Noah has true passion a real thrill for competition. He almost always plays at a frenetic, high-energy pace and he would walk face-first through a brick wall to win. You want someone like that on your team. His energy, enthusiasm and sheer desire more than make up for his limited offensive skill set. (Although I’m still hoping that skill set expands a little.)

Noah is everything you want in a teammate: talented, passionate, driven and unselfish. Unless something truly amazing (and very surprising) happens, he’ll probably never be much of a scorer. However, he can still be a big-time game-changer with his offensive rebounding and his defense.

What’s his ceiling? I can see Noah becoming Ben Wallace 2.0. And I’m not talking about the washed-up Wallace from his Chicago days. I mean the in-his-prime Big Ben who in 2004 stymied Shaq and helped the Detroit Pistons upset the Lakers in the NBA Finals. I see no reason why Noah couldn’t become everything Wallace was back then…and maybe a little bit more.

More Joakim: profile profile
Basketball-Reference profile Player Stats
Wikipedia entry

Bonus video:
Here’s what Joakim Noah does:


15 Responses to Scouting Report: Joakim Noah

    Brad S. August 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    Yea, More material to discuss. You are the man, Matt.

    I have a close friend who laughed at me the day the Bulls picked Noah. I, however, liked the pick much more than some of the previous choices. (Aldridge for Thomas springs to mind!)

    Consider for a moment the other players recently picked at #9 since the year 2000: DJ Augustine, Rudy Gay, Joakim Noah, Ike Diogu, Andre Iguodala, Mike Sweetney, Amare Stoudemire, Rodney White, and Joel Przybilla. Now, drop off all the players that are not centers or power forwards, and it is a pretty thin list of guys that are any good. (Oh, I know that Gay has sooooo much potential…)

    Anyway, I am glad he is a Bull. He is a joy to watch on the court, and 2nd only to Jay Cutler in the race for the “I spent the offseason partying with mostly naked hot chicks and got pictures to prove it” challenge.

    Yeah, I gotta get me a bow tie and a seersucker suit…

    andres Lopez August 14, 2009 at 2:21 am #

    At 1st I was ok with the Bulls drafting Noah at as a center they needed at #9. But then, when I starting watching him during his rookie year I was thinking to myself, I don’t know if drafting Noah was a good idea. Then after watching him during his sophomore season playing against Boston in the 1st round of the playoffs I was amazed! Noah shut me up and shocked me with his: defense, scoring and rebounding. I just hope that he can put up then same #’s he had in the playoffs with scoring more points this season & in the playoffs again. Go Bulls!

    EAM August 14, 2009 at 3:37 am #

    I didn’t like him in college and on draft day I thought the bulls wasted their pick but his development during the end of last season and performance in the playoffs made me route for him. I hope he continues to improve and become a leader.

    BullsNut Steve August 14, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    can’t wait to see what he brings this year. can’t wait for the season. can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait.

    felipe garcia August 14, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    I think Noah is going to become a much better player this season, thanks to Brad Miller by helping him to develop more on his offense. The plus side about J. Noah this year is his defensive and his will to improve this and become a better all around player. GO BULLS!!!

    mike killer August 15, 2009 at 6:59 pm #


    Mike killer August 15, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    I think that Joakim Noah is going to improve a little bit this year on his offense as well with his defense because just like Garcia mention this already, he has Brad Miller to train him on his offense. But their is no question of a doubt that his rebounding #’s, blocked shots & crazy energy with improve even more this season coming up! GO BULLS!!!

  8. Dan August 16, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    I believe he can breakout this year…hes worked harder this offseason then any hes ever experienced….hes gaining good muscle/weight…got named to the french national team…and is just looking like a total different guy…lets hope he does indeed breakout.

  9. Mike G August 18, 2009 at 4:23 am #

    Joakim is well on his way to being an above average NBA starting center. The Boston series showcased his potential to a national audience, but these signs of progress and maturation were already apparent- especially in the second half of last season. His rebounding ability- specifically on the offensive end of the floor- is by far his greatest asset. Creating second chance scoring oppourtunites is an extremely important and often overlooked part of succesful team basketball and Joakim is one of the best at this. Late last season, Noah showed at times that he could score with his back to the basket. He didn’t do it often nor for most of the year, but in the final few months of the year he showed he wasn’t uncomfortable putting his back the basket and making a nice move. Unquestionably, this is the part of his game that needs the most work. Despite his unorthadox shot from outside, his touch down low is actually very soft. Joakim wouldn’t be the player he is if it wasn’t for his energy and tenacity. These intangibles help set him apart from some of his peers. He is an above average defender and a very good shot-blocker. Lastly, his keen instinct and intelligence will allow him to take the next step in his evolution as a player. He is a wonderful decision maker and a very gifted passer. However, until Noah can learn to become a threat in the post and score consistently, he will never be revered as a great player……. Wade 2010 peace

    Boppinbob August 18, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    Noah, in my opinion was the most improved player on the Bulls during the 2008/09 season. During Feb, Mar and Apr when he played between 28 and 32 min/g he produced consistent numbers (rebounds 9.6,8.9,9.7), (points 8.7, 8.4 10.5). If he continues to deveolp along those lines he could become a consistent double/double man and put some pressure on opposing defenses down low. If his off-season work ethic is close to his frenetic playing style we should see continued growth. He needs to add strength and bulk and work on his jump shot. I see him being a core member of the Bulls going forward.

    granville waiters August 19, 2009 at 7:35 pm #

    noah is an energy guy. he needs to play under 30 minutes a game in order to be at his best. this year we need him at higher minutes, but going forward he would be a good compliment to play next to a true scoring big man. his best role on a future (better) team would probably be the backup to both the 4 and 5, kind of like kirk will be the backup to both the 1 and 2 this year which will help our team chemistry. i love Captain.

  12. DR. Jim August 21, 2009 at 5:02 am #

    You see I loved the way you played in college. As they say you bring your lunch pail to work every day. I know you can be one of the best if you don’t change that desire to be the best

  13. aha.ins@live.c?om'
    bill thomas August 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    Noah is going to be the main man this season! averaging close to a double doubles per game.

    bill thomas August 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    Noah is going to become the main man this season coming up! Averaging close to a double double per game and he is going to become bulk up more weight, becoming a stronger Center.

    bill thomas August 22, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    and he is going to add more muscle weight and become a stronger center that the bulls need.*

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