Joakim Noah's improved shooting is no joke

Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Unfortunately I couldn't find video evidence of this, but apparently the Suns local broadcast (featuring not-the-molester-one Eddie Johnson) were funnin' on Joakim Noah's jump-shooting and subsequent FingAGunz. I'm guessing it was sweet karmic ear-juice for Bulls fans listening when Noah buried one on overtime to fully cement the Bulls victory.

Bulls By the Horns appropriately heaps on the Noah praise:

Noah scored 11 of his points after the Bulls had given up their big lead. That included a) two 17-foot jumpers in the fourth quarter and b) Chicago's final two buckets in overtime - a nifty driving layup that put the Bulls up 110-101 with 1:23 remaining and a cold-blooded 18-footer with 29 seconds left that held off the Suns' final flurry.

Thibodeau did make one other observation about Noah's game: "(He) probably could have had 30 tonight if he had made his dunks."

Thibs has a point. According to the ESPN shot chart, Noah missed eight shots in the paint. And according to Hoopdata, he missed six of his 12 attempts at the rim.

That said, Hoopdata tells us that Noah is currently shooting a career-best 62.5 percent at the rim. He's also averaging a career-high 2.1 field goal attempts per game from 16-23 feet...and knocking down 41 percent of them. Finger guns, people. Finger guns.

Indeed, Noah still has the unorthodox release but his jumpshot has becomedownright reliable. Look to the Hoopdata, people, Always...to the Hoopdata:

Joakim Noah from 16-23 ft.:

Year Att/gm %
07-08 0.4 15%
08-09 0.0 0%
09-10 1.0 43%
10-11 1.2 33%
11-12 1.1 43%
12-13 2.1 41%

Noah is nearly doubling his attempts from mid-range and keeping roughly the same percentage. It puts him near the top of relevant big men in that category. His FT% has also steadily improved in his career, from 69% as a rookie to a career-high 79% this season.

This is gigantic for Noah, because teams don't just leave him open on the outside because they don't believe in his jumper, it's also because he may be the best center in the league at driving to the rim. His ability to handle the ball and an improvement in his inside finishing makes him deadly. And like the jumper, his running lefty half-hook doesn't look that great, but: it's extremely hard to block and it often goes in.

Noah had his career-high in attempts last night. Some of this increased aggression is due to Derrick Rose being out, but it's also because Noah has become a damned good offensive center.

links for more Noah love:

Big changes for Bulls' big man - Steve Rosenbloom, Chicago Tribune
Bulls turn to Noah in overtime - Nick Friedell, ESPNChicago
Game Recap: Bulls 112, Suns 106 (OT) - Matt McHale, Bulls By the Horns

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