An weird nugget was dropped into the latest blog entry of Mike McGraw (official BaB beat writer, going forward):
Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey showed up at practice carrying an old copy of his sports section and a jar of salsa. Apparently on draft night 2007, he wrote that if Joakim Noah becomes a useful player within three years, he’ll eat his column with salsa.
Well, Noah had 21 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks in Saturday’s win over Charlotte, so Morrissey actually showed up to eat the column. I didn’t see it happen, but the stunt was videotaped and I’m sure the two-year old newsprint was delicious.
Well, no doubt Rick gets another column out of this (his job, I suppose) and perhaps a modest viral video hit. And though I can't find the old column, if he indeed used the word 'useful' when giving an unattainable goal for Noah, that's even more ridiculous than this 'I back up my words!' ploy.
Noah always projected to be useful, what's really changed for him is his apparent dedication to the job, with more focused offseasons leading to his improvements, most improbably the addition of an ugly-yet-effective jump shot (hey, as long as he's completely open...).
And with added bulk and increased conditioning he's looking like a big-minute starting center, supplementing his existing passing and ballhandling skills (a tier above most of the league's bigs) with improved defensive post positioning and rebounding.
Even before then, he had those skills and was a very good offensive rebounder. But his, um, look (who cares), and lifestyle (ditto), and reported issues with getting in shape after his rookie year (ok, that's valid...) led to him being a fixitation of disdain for Bulls fans. The Ron Adams spat (and subsequent extra suspension by the team's resident fossils) didn't help. And I don't mean here, exactly, but if you ever went to the United Center when a Bulls game went awry, it was 'goofy' Joakim Noah that would get booed first and foremost.
And I guess he makes sense as an easy target if you're but a casual fan. But while I won't say us smarty-pants bloggers and readers of said bloggers knew he'd be this good, we knew he'd be useful. And reports are that the Bulls themselves are now convinced he's a cornerstone. And with slow learners like Rick Morrissey getting on board, Bulls fans all over are likely not far behind.