Joakim Noah Needs to Be Accountable, Avoid Contract as a Scapegoat for Poor Play

Al Rieger@Al RiegerCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 13:  Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates a basket in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics on January 13, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 79-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls is not happy about his slow start in the 2011-12 NBA season.  He's a high intensity player who sometimes lets his emotions get the better of him.  Noah told the Chicago Tribune:

"Sometimes you feel like because you're given so much money you're expected to do things. That's not the right mentality to have as a player."

Sounds like a good problem to have.  

During the first stretch of the season, Noah’s game lacked that relentless tenacity we have grown to love from the pony-tailed big man.  He missed a lot of easy layups and put-backs.  In the first 12 games, Noah had only one double-double.

Unlike many professional NBA stars, Noah was no stranger to big money growing up.  His father was a pro tennis player, and his mother a supermodel.  After being drafted by Chicago in the first round, the 6'11'' center from Florida was graciously welcomed by the city of Chicago as his emotional and energizing attitude came out every night.

The Bulls rewarded Noah with five-year, $60 million contract in October of 2010.  After a sluggish start to the season, Noah blamed his low numbers on a high bank account.  Not so professional, big guy.

Noah looks to be improving, though.  After 14 games, Noah tallied eight double-doubles.  Last year, he had 15.6 points and 12.4 rebounds in the first 16 games.  The Bulls were 9-7.  

This season, the Bulls went 13-3 despite Noah's low production.

A Lesson Learned  

Stop worrying what people think or expect of you, Noah.  That's petty stuff. 

Noah should take responsibility for his play and correct it.  Ten points a game is fine.  Noah is payed to play high-energy, rebound and defend the paint.  If he can do that, he's worth every penny.