Joakim Noah: 5 Ways Chicago Bulls Center Can Turn Season Around

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIFebruary 7, 2012

Joakim Noah: 5 Ways Chicago Bulls Center Can Turn Season Around

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    The Chicago Bulls are continuing their success from last season as one of the NBA's best teams. Chicago center Joakim Noah has been a big part of that success, but he has areas in which he can improve going forward this season.

    Although he's known primarily for his defense, Noah could improve his stock tremendously by working on areas like his free-throw shooting, offensive consistency and outside jumpshot among others.

    Here are five areas for the center to work on this season.

Outside Jumpshot

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    A consistent outside jumpshot is one of the most effective tools that an athletic big man like Joakim Noah can have against opposing defenses.

    Derrick Rose would love to be able to count on Noah to hit a clutch jumper off of the pick-and-pop. If he could master this shot, Noah's scoring would go up and he'd get more opportunities in the paint by forcing defenses to spread out and cover him for the jumpshot.

    Developing this shot would also help the Bulls because it would provide more driving lanes and space for guys like Rose, Carlos Boozer and Richard Hamilton.

Blocked Shots

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    Joakim Noah is not bad at blocking shots. He has averaged 1.2 per game so far this season.

    However, that mark is the lowest of his career since his rookie year. That's not necessarily what one would like to see at this point in his career. If anything, you'd want to see his blocks go up as he builds on his reputation as a great defender.

    I know that this may see like a trivial thing to improve on, but every missed block has the potential to be two points for the opponent. When you think about that, it becomes much more important.


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    Joakim Noah is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game this season. That is a good mark for a starting center in this league, but Noah can do better.

    For the past three seasons, Noah's rebounds per game have gone down. First from 11 to 10.4 and now to 9.2—his rebounds have gone down consistently. An excuse could be made that the addition of Carlos Boozer (8.5 rebounds per game) has brought Noah's rate down.

    However, Noah needs to average double-digits in rebounding, especially since Boozer has a tendency to disappear in big spots. Noah is the best rebounder on his team, and one of the most underrated ones in the league.

Free-Throw Shooting

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    Unlike many more heralded big men in the league, Joakim Noah shoots a decent percentage from the free-throw line at 73 percent. He could improve on that, but there's another aspect of his play from the charity stripe that needs improving.

    Noah averages 2.7 free-throw attempts per game. I understand that Noah doesn't get very many opportunities to shoot the ball (6.7 per game), which limits his free-throw attempts.

    However, I'd like to see him get more free-throw attempts than he is getting because he plays around the basket so much. He is a good free-throw shooter percentage-wise. It only makes sense to try and get to the line more.

Offensive Consistency

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    Joakim Noah has not been as consistent offensively as one would like.

    His field goal percentage of 48 percent would be great for most other players but is actually his lowest of his career since his rookie year. He also had double figures in just four of the Bulls' first 18 games.

    He has been improving lately in this area, averaging 11.5 points per game in the Bulls' last eight games.

    However, he needs to continue to do better. The Bulls as a whole have looked like a one-man show at times with Derrick Rose. Noah needs to do his part to take the offensive pressure off of Rose.

    If Noah can become a more consistent scorer on the offensive end, not only will he help his team, but he'll also begin to enter the conversation with Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Marc Gasol as one of the best centers in the NBA.