The Knicks recent issues stem from a lack of defense and chemistry. Which, oddly enough was the reason the Knicks signed Joakim Noah. Noah has vastly underperformed this season. His 4 year 72 million dollar contract is beginning to look like one of the worse deals in the NBA. Noah simply looks like a dinosaur in today’s 3 point happy league. He can’t shoot the 3, he can’t defend the pick and role and his defense is below average.
Now this is just the on-court aspect of Noah’s game his intangibles were respected by the league. This is another area in which he has struggled. The Knicks locker room has imploded as of late, from Derricks disappearance to Melo’s 3 ejections the Knicks have no cohesion.
Yet something seems to have clicked in Joakim Noah over the last couple of games. Over the last 11 games, Noah is averaging 8 PPG and 10.2 rebounds, while looking more active on the defensive side of the ball. Noah had this to say about his recent play.
“I feel like I can still do better,” Noah said. “I feel like there’s another level that I want to get to and have to keep pushing and getting better.”
That other level that Joakim is talking about is unlocked when he plays his former team. Joakim is averaging 14 PPG and 12 rebounds against his former club.
Even his teammates noticed it,
“It was an accumulation of a lot,” Carmelo Anthony said of Noah’s fire. “I think he was excited to play the Bulls. You can tell he had a different mindset.”
“You could tell he was pumped,” Derrick Rose said. “He likes talking BS. I mean talking [expletive”
“Jo was on us all game, screaming,” Kyle O’Quinn said.
Now is this just a blip on a disastrous season or is the former all-star turning the corner? For the Knicks sake let’s hope not. They need the old Joakim just as bad as we need the old Kanye.
Coach Jeff would be wise to run the offense thru Noah more. The Knicks don’t use Noah’s offensive talents the way they should. Noah’s assist ratio has gone down monthly, going from 48.4 in October to 16.0 in January. Noah was averaging 5 assists per game in October and is now averaging 1.6 assists in January. This has affected the club negatively as amounts of isolation sets has risen the ball movement has fallen.
Noah was always going to be the X-factor on this team. From his defensive intensity to his vocal leadership, he is an important player. The Knicks have struggled recently but it will be interesting to see how they perform now that Noah is playing better.