Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has made many changes coming into his first regular season in the NBA. One of the big changes Hoiberg is making is the change of role for veteran center Joakim Noah. At 30-years-old, the former All-Star center is coming off his worst statistical season of his career. Noah has stated he is fine with whatever role he is put in and insists what matters is gearing up to make the team the best that it can be.
Hoiberg is looking to implement a more offensive minded rotation in his starting five as he is looking to have Nikola Mirotic as the replacement for the forward position. Mirotic brings an outside shooting presence. Bulls center, Pau Gasol has a great relationship with Mirotic as they both were a part of the EuroBasket winning nation of Spain during this offseason. The two mesh well with each other and look to continue their good play moving forward.
With eight years in the league there is no question Noah has the work ethic to propel the Bulls to a championship. Regardless of his role, Noah will show the same energy that he always has and the leadership that he brings to the team. The ninth overall pick of the 2007 draft still remains one of the Bulls' most important assets. He brings a defensive mindset that is called for in important parts of the game. Hoiberg also is making the move to decrease Noah's wear and tear throughout the season so he is fresh for the latter stages of the season and the playoffs.
In regards to his bench role, Noah stated, "It's definitely an adjustment." He also added, "But at the end of the day, it's still basketball. I got to go out there, bring energy, and do what I do."
Noah will bring added depth to the Bulls and well needed minutes to energize this team. He has had good chemistry with Taj Gibson and looks to do damage on the boards with him in the bench rotation. The 6'11" center is going on his final year of his $60 million deal. Let's not forget that Noah's offensive level has dropped, however, he still remains to be one of the top passing big men in the lead. A true professional and selfless player, this could be the right move to give the veteran extra rest. Hoiberg has stated that this does not mean things will never change, and he will reconsider the lineup depending on how things go.
Opening night will be this Tuesday as the Bulls play at home in the United Center against Eastern conference rivals the Cleveland Cavaliers with an 8:00 PM tipoff. Coming off eight points, 10 rebounds, three assists and 20 minutes played in the preseason closer, Noah hopes to embrace his new found role and build with his team moving forward.