Joakim Noah went into this past summer with a more scientific approach to preparing his body for the rigors of an NBA season.
Noah has only averaged 68 games per season for his career and has never played a full 82 games. He's also been severely hobbled in many of the Bulls' postseasons.
Noah aimed to change that this season by working with P3, a conditioning group focused on using a scientific approach to improve athletic performance.
James Herbert of CBS Sports chronicled Noah's summer training and rehabilitation on his knee:
On the first day, Noah did all of P3's standard testing with motion-capture technology so a personalized program could be designed. By the end of the summer, his performance metrics were all completely different.
Curious to know what his measurements were on finger gunz, but unfortunately no public data on that yet.
It does look like Noah changed his body mechanics quite a bit though:
In a couple of months, Noah made more progress at P3 than almost anyone. When he moved laterally, at first he wasn't stable enough in his trunk, which meant he flexed it and lost energy. On exit testing, his trunk flexion was down from 21.6 degrees, a bad outlier, to 12.1 degrees, much better than an average NBA big man. His drop jump — a vertical jump off a box — went up 4.5 inches. With plyometrics, he learned how to be much more efficient when he landed, which took pressure off his knees and allowed him to jump not just higher, but faster.
Noah has looked like he's moving a bit better out there, and an increase to his vertical might explain his great rebounding numbers thus far. He's averaging 4.7 offensive rebounds in only 19 minutes of play.
P3's work on Noah's motion might also explain his shooting struggles. He's shooting just 4/18 in this preseason and hasn't looked great offensively. Part of that is because the group changed Noah's shooting form:
"We gotta adjust your hook angle," Penberthy told him. "We gotta get you a floater, a little bit of a runner because of the depth of your pick-and-rolls. Your dribble spin move can be out of control, we gotta slow you down." He and Penberthy practiced footwork and decision-making — when he rolled to the basket, he'd attack when he caught the ball low, kick out when he caught it high. If he misses a few easy-looking shots in the beginning of the season, it'll probably be because he's getting used to having the ball roll off his fingers in a more traditional way.
Noah has always been hampered by nagging injuries throughout the course of the season. Hopefully, this new work on his body will help him peak at the end of the year.