Joakim Noah: Chicago Bulls Have An Identity Crisis

Joakim Noah: Chicago Bulls Have An Identity Crisis
Joakim Noah Keith Allison / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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Joakim Noah, who finished third in the NBA MVP voting a few seasons ago, is no longer the defensive anchor of the Chicago Bulls, especially since Fred Hoiberg took over as coach this season.


The Bulls have lost three games in a row and frustrations are mounting. A few days ago, Jimmy Butler lashed out at coach Hoiberg, stating that his team needed “to be coached harder.” And now, Noah has spoken out against the first-year coach, wondering what his team’s identity is.

Under Tom Thibodeau, Bulls had built an ascertainable identity – a team that prioritizes defense over offense and fights tooth-and-nail on a nightly basis. Now, under Hoiberg, the likes of Noah and Butler are worried about the team’s future.

To make matters worse, Noah suffered a shoulder injury during the embarrassing loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. He is expected to miss at least two weeks of action. “I don’t want to paint this gloomy picture. (But) We have issues. But it’s early. There is a lot of skill here. Even with all our issues, we are second (now sixth with a 15-11 record) in the East. We are still trying to figure out who we are,” Noah told ESPN a few days before the loss to Nets.

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Noah, a former Defensive Player of the Year, went on a rant about the identity of the team. “I mean, what is the identity of this team? It’s hard to say. Our identity has always been: You come to Chicago, you’re in for a war. It’s not like that right now. I don’t care what the numbers say. Just watch the games.”

Derrick Rose, former MVP and franchise player, shoots a paltry 37 percent this season. Many Chicago fans are hoping to see Rose leave in next free agency.

Noah continued, “There are 25,000 people in the building, and it’s dead quiet. It has never been like that. It’s tough to see the building that way. And it’s on us. You bring the fire, and they will love you here. But if you’re coasting, playing this low-energy game – I’m not sure we can win like that.”

Joakim Noah admitted that his team is frustrated. “We just get so frustrated. It has been the weakness of our team so far. There has to be more camaraderie. More of a sacrifice for each other.”