TNT analyst Charles Barkley has been a big supporter of Joakim Noah; until now.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, after Noah's two-point, five-rebound performance in the Bulls' loss vs. the Grizzlies Monday Barkley said, "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."
Noah's play seems to fluctuate every other season as it is. Looking at his numbers during his tenure with the Bulls, his first season he scored 488 points and 416 rebounds. In '08-'09 he had 537 points with 606 rebounds; in 2009-'10 he scored 687 points with 705 rebounds; last season he scored 561 points with 498 rebounds and he currently has 114 points and 131 rebounds in 16 games. Not too much of a flux but not completely consistent either.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau isn't worried about Noah's performance. He told the Sun-Times, "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."
So maybe he just had an off-game and wasn't completely there. The lockout has definitely had an effect on everyone's play, not to make excuses but what did you expect? We're 16 games in and although it's just a 66-game season there's still time.
Do you think Noah has stepped up his game and will continue to do so? Are you happy with his performance?