Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Let's Go Buffalo (and Jo Noah)

So ESPN says the odds of the Bulls getting the top pick are the same as the Bills winning the Super Bowl.

Well, y'know, I'm thinking it's possible: J.P. Losman could make a quantum leap this year, Marshawn Lynch could be the Second Coming of Walter Payton, and Randy Moss could cause the Patriots all sorts of cancerous problems. And indeed, primates could also presumably take flight from my rectum.

That said, I'm okay if the Bulls end up staying where they're currently projected, because the recent draft boards that have Joakim Noah falling to the Bulls at the ninth or tenth spot have me pretty excited.

I know, I know: All things being equal, Noah's Gator teammate Al Horford would be much more preferable, an already fairly polished post presence at the 4, who can also hit the 15-17 foot range jumper consistently. I agree; Horford could jump in right away and answer our immediate needs, uh, immediately. Meanwhile, Noah's post game still needs a lot of work and may never come around, while his jump shot is hideous and his free throw form looks downright Biedrinsesque.

Granted all of that, I ask you to look two years down the road and imagine a starting five of Hinrich, Gordon, Deng, Ty Thomas and Noah. Outside of Phoenix (and by this time, Nash'll be getting pretty long in the tooth), is there a single team in the NBA that can run the floor with that group? (That team also could play some serious defense, with shots getting swatted like flies.) As for Noah's mediocre offensive game, keep in mind Sekou Smith's take on Big Jo:

Do you have any idea how much scoring Noah will be asked to do on the NBA team that drafts him? Hardly any. In fact, his value is greater in my eyes because he’ll be a guy that can do all the other things. There are a handful of players on every NBA team [who] can score major points for their team on a given night. Scoring is the least of the NBA’s problems.
But highly skilled big men who can run the floor, play with passion, pass effortlessly, handle the ball far better than someone his size should, defend around the basket and do all the little things are far more valuable to NBA teams than a guy who’s No. 1 marketable skill is scoring (on inferior competition in college but not so much in the league).
Seriously, if Noah’s available anywhere after Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the teams that passes on him is absolutely NUTS!

Also, while there's certainly something to the argument that NBA titles are ultimately won by superior talent, not teamwork, Henry Abbot's thoughts on Noah are also worth keeping in mind.

Quite frankly, if we can get him at the ninth or 10th spot, he would be a major steal, enough so that Dreams of What Might Have Been With Greg, or Kevin, or even Big Al might one day be forgotten.