Joakim Noah interview
Chicago Bulls forward/center Joakim Noah is now in his second year in the NBA and playing 21.9 minutes per game, averaging 5.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.41 blocks per game. He's still developing his skills but shows clear potential to be a solid contributor for years to come.
InsideHoops.com caught up with Noah in New Jersey before the Bulls played the Nets and discussed being drafted, his goals and skills, and more.
InsideHoops.com: What are your goals for the rest of this season?
Joakim Noah: I have never made the playoffs yet, and that's the goal for this season. Right now there a few teams that are on the outside trying to get into those last few playoff spots. All the games down the stretch are huge. You can't get to high and you can't get too low. You have to keep improving as team and hope it's enough to get in.
InsideHoops.com: What do you bring to this Bulls team?
Noah: I just try to bring energy every night, play hard, and play tough defense. I like to do all the little things on the court because we have a lot of great scorers on this team, and that is the way I can contribute the most.
InsideHoops.com: What is the major difference between the NBA and college?
Noah: In college you had three or four days to get ready for a team. Every practice was geared towards that one team. In the NBA you play against so many great players on a nightly basis. Last night I played Dwight Howard, tonight I play Brook Lopez, and in two days I play Yao Ming, so it's a crazy time playing against the best players in the world. Some of these players you grew up admiring. Now all of a sudden you are out there playing against these guys. It's a great feeling.
InsideHoops.com: How did it feel to be drafted by the Bulls in your hometown?
Noah: Doing it at home in front of your friends and family is so exciting. I didn't sleep for a week after the draft because I was just so excited. It was an unbelievable feeling and something that every kid dreams of. You work so hard to get to this point. For you to realize in that moment it's not something that everybody in the world can say that they experienced.
InsideHoops.com: How did it feel playing at the Garden as a pro?
Noah: I love playing in New York City because it's home. No question there is something so special about being in that New York atmosphere. It raises my level of intensity. I grew up watching the Knicks so it was really special the first time I played against them at MSG. I still get chills.
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