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Noah says Bulls talent best in his time
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On September 29, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
DEERFIELD, Ill. — For the Chicago Bulls, last year was defined by their continued ability to surprise people. Their best player, Derrick Rose, missed the entire 2012-13 season with a torn ACL, but the team still finished with the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and upset the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the Miami Heat in the second round.
“People didn’t think we could win a playoff series without (Rose),” Bulls center Joakim Noah told USA TODAY Sports after Sunday’s practice session. “As a whole, what people around the country respected about our team is our heart and how hard we play.”
Noah is coming off a career year — and some injuries of his own. He made his first All-Star team in 2013, averaging 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.1 blocks a game and came in fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting. During the postseason, the big man played through a case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot against both the Nets and the Heat, but still played 34.1 minutes a game in the playoffs and averaged 10.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 blocks.
Now, he says the foot is feeling better. “It’s day two of practice and it was a hell of a practice,” he said. “My foot feels great.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he is pleased with Noah’s progress.
“He looks great,” Thibodeau said. “He’s running the floor really well, playing his usual defense, he’s done a good job. His conditioning is great.”
Noah has always been one of the more outspoken stars in the NBA, once calling the Heat “Hollywood as hell.” On October 29, the Bulls will tip off the 2013-14 season in Miami. The game will be preceded by the two-time defending champions being presented their 2013 rings while the Bulls watch.
“It’s gonna be great,” Noah said, smiling. “I can’t wait for that game.”
The Heat aren’t the only team that will be standing in the Bulls’ way if they hope to come out of the Eastern Conference. The Nets have added future Hall … [For more on Joakim Noah says Chicago Bulls talent best in his time, click here.]
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