Joakim Noah’s production and perception around the league has fallen off a cliff the past few seasons because of a slew of injuries and his body breaking down.
The process started a few years ago but that didn’t stop the Knicks from offering what at the moment is a horrific four-year, $72 million contract last summer.
Noah only appeared in 46 games last season and very few around the league have confidence that he has much left in the tank with his injury history at the age of 32.
He has been quoted numerous times this summer saying that he feels great and is highly motivated to be a productive center once again and teammates such as Michael Beasley have said that he is more ripped and looks better than ever.
Add Knicks Head Coach Jeff Hornacek to the list via Howie Kussoy of the New York Post…
“Coming off those injuries, literally, I’m shocked of how well he’s played just because I didn’t think he was gonna be ready this early,” Jeff Hornacek said following practice Saturday. “I’m extremely happy with how he’s playing. He’s playing the right way. He sets great screens, he rolls hard, which opens up other things for guys if he doesn’t get it. He’s been finishing with driving layups. He’s been playing great.
“He wants to come back and show everybody what kind of player he is and he’s worked hard to do that over the summer. I give him a lot of credit so far.”
While we have known, since he was leading the University of Florida to national championship in college, that Noah plays the game with more passion and desire than almost anybody and I don’t doubt he is doing everything in his power to return to being the player he was in Chicago, everybody has “lost 20 pounds and looks better than ever” in the off-season and I am not buying stock in anybody in this situation until they prove it again on the court (that goes for Chandler Parsons too).
Noah won’t have a chance to show he is back until mid-November though as he is suspended the first 12 games of the season for performance-enhancing drugs.