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Barkley not impressed with Joakim Noah, Thibodeau shrugs

Jan 18, 2012, 5:01 PM EDT

Kevin Garnett, Joakim Noah AP

Joakim Noah is not off to a good start this season. He is shooting just 41.2 percent (down from 52.5 percent last year), he is rebounding a little less and turning the ball over a little more. His defense is still good, but feels inconsistent. He has been benched a number of fourth quarters in favor of Omer Asik.

That’s about all you need for Charles Barkley to make a pronouncement, which he did after an uninspired performance Monday by the Grizzlies, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

“His energy level is not the same. I have loved how hard he has worked, but he has not played up to his capabilities this year. Even though Chicago has a great record, he has not played like he has played the last couple of years.”

What did Tom Thibodeau say about all this? Meh, reports CSNChicago.com.

“Jo’s fine. He played well the last couple of games before the Memphis game [12 rebounds against the Celtics and Raptors]. The Memphis game, we played poorly as a team. But I like the way [Noah's] playing. He’s reacting to the ball a lot better.”

That’s a coach getting his players back in public. In private, you can get Thibodeau is plenty hard on Noah.

Noah seems to be one of the many players in the league rounding himself into physical and mental game readiness as the season wears on. The Bulls lost ugly to the Grizzlies Monday (without Derrick Rose) but they are still 13-3 and the top seed in the East right now. So long as Noah finds his groove by the playoffs, Chicago should be fine.

  1. stonedwhitetrash - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Means nothing Barkley is impressed with on one except himself

  2. liltmac2003 - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Yeah, I agree with Barkley that Noah isn’t playing the way he used to.

    But this last week, he has been playing better. It’s not that his scoring is down or percentage, he’s never been known for that, it’s his energy and hustle.

    But the past few games he has been able to show his energy and get all those hustle plays. Hopefully he can be like that for the rest of the season.

  3. jimeejohnson - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Noah did very, very well against the Celtics, who almost beat the Bulls. Chicago does not beat Boston without Rose. That said, the Bulls play team basketball but Rose puts them over the top, like Kobe with the Lakers, or Nowitzki with the Mavericks.

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 19, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      The Celtics did not almost beat the Bulls. Their run was about five-to-seven minutes to early in the second quarter to say that. The Bulls took the foot off the pedal right when Boston’s shooters got hot. And then they went cold again and the game was put out of hand.

  4. glink123 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    there’s something going on with Noah. not sure if he’s worn down from playing ball in Europe all summer or what, but he’s completely disconnected mentally. wouldn’t surprise me if he tested positive and got banned, if you know what I mean.

  5. comeonnowguys - Jan 19, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Weird timing for Barkley to come out with this. Noah’s been pretty bad all year, but the last few games he’s been coming around.

    Then again, when he’s spent several games dribbling the ball off the side of his leg, he has nowhere to go but up.

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