Each week, one Bulls player will be selected as The Bulls Charge’s “Player of the Week.” The selections will be based off the player’s performance during the previous week. Readers’ views and suggestions are taken into consideration when choosing the player, but the editor ultimately makes the decision.
#PointNoah has returned.
His numbers may not show it much, but, last week, Joakim Noah often acted like the intense, energetic, playmaking center Bulls fans have come to love. His presence with the bench unit also paid off more because of it, and it helped the bench unit establish itself as the lineup that has figured out head coach Fred Hoiberg‘s system.
Noah hasn’t quite put up the string of double-figure assists he has been known to in the past, but there are hints of it — in the four game last week, Noah averaged 4.8 assists, which is 1.3 more assists than what he had in all of the previous games.
Dec. 14: 115-96 win versus Philadelphia 76ers
Noah was a part of the bench unit that solidified the Bulls’ win over the one-win Sixers last Monday. He may have struggled with his own scoring — he had five points on 2-for-7 from the field and 1-of-2 on free throws — but still posted a near double-double of 15 rebounds and eight assists. Noah’s numbers in both categories was the best of the game.
Dec. 16: 98-85 win versus Memphis Grizzlies
Performance-wise, this was Noah’s worst game of the week, and he wasn’t the star of the bench like he had been.
In 29 minutes, he posted just three points, but his six rebounds, five rebounds and one block are still decent numbers. He also managed to still end the game with a +/- of plus-7.
December 19: 147-144 loss versus Detroit Pistons (4OT)
Noah had his most efficient shooting night against the Pistons, going 3-of-5 from the field for six points. But this was a game in which the starters were all the talk, as they were the ones who were grueling it out over the course of four overtimes. Despite that, Noah still had admirable numbers that looked especially so when comparing them to some of the Bulls’ starters.
In 26 minutes, Noah grabbed 11 boards, just one less than Taj Gibson, a starter who played 44 minutes and had 12 rebounds. His four assists bested everyone on his team with the exception of Derrick Rose, who had eight assists. Both Noah’s rebounding and assist figures led the bench.
December 20: 107-91 loss at New York Knicks
Pau Gasol sat out — and didn’t even travel — for the Bulls’ Saturday night game at New York thanks to the four-overtime loss the previous night. Because of that, Noah got to start in his place, and he played well in the role.
His 21 points led the Bulls in scoring, and his 10 rebounds bested all but one of his teammates — rookie Bobby Portis had 11 boards coming off the bench.
What bad that did come out of Noah’s performance, however, was that he only had two assists and that his performance couldn’t be enough to support the Bulls in a win — but that’s not entirely his fault.
Bobby Portis, just like Noah, saw an increase in minutes in Friday’s loss to the Knicks due to Gasol’s absence. But, unlike Noah, Portis’ minutes increase was a dramatic one seeing as he has only played garbage time prior to that.
Portis posted a double-double in his first real NBA minutes, and it even prompted Hoiberg to admit Portis deserves regular minutes.
Hoiberg: "We have to find minutes for Bobby. He's ready."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 21, 2015
Portis also fared well in the garbage minutes he played in the win over Philadelphia, scoring an oh-so-efficient seven points in less than five minutes.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.