Joakim Noah

NBA Christmas is almost upon us, viagra and that means the return of All Star fan voting. The NBA is one of, if not the most digitally savvy professional sports league, and this year is no different than those in the past with new digital and social avenues to vote to see your favorite players in Toronto in February. This year, for the first time, you can vote simply through google search. Just google “NBA VOTE ALL STAR” or “NBA VOTE TEAM NAME” to cast your votes. For example, you’d type in NBA VOTE 76ERS and check the photo of Nik Stauskas to see the Canadian guard on the court at tip off in the All Star Game.

That wasn’t serious. Please don’t do that.

In addition to Google search voting, you can also vote on NBA.com/vote, the NBA App, by posting with a players first and last name along with #NBAVOTE on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, or by taking it real old school and texting a player’s last name to 69622 (MYNBA). All current NBA players are eligible, but the voting ends January 18th at 11:59pm ET. The starters will be announced January 21st on TNT.

Fans can vote for 10 unique players every day and on each voting platform, so with a very large voting pool, the most deserving players will likely end up with the start, and if they don’t, they’ll be selected by the head coaches in their conference as All Star reserves.

I’ll definitely be casting a few ballots. An all Bulls, all Wolverines, all Chicago area, etc. But for my first votes, I was inspired by the years that Yao Ming led All Star voting because of his passionate fans in China, so I decided to cast my first ballot via google search for players that I’m passionate about after a quarter of the season:

  1. Jahlil Okafor – For being not the first or last 7 ft tall NBA player who will attempt to use a fake ID 7 months removed from hoisting a trophy amid mass national attention.
  2. Lance Stephenson – For having a brother named Lantz and all of the rap videos.
  3. Jamal Crawford – For general perfection at any age.
  4. Russell Westbrook – For buying the Lord’s house.
  5. Kobe Bryant – For not being able to or caring to try to name the Pistons player who wanted to shake his hand.
  6. DeMarcus Cousins – For notching at least one expletive-laden rant before the quarter mark of the season.
  7. Zach Lavine – Because I heard him on a podcast once, and he seemed cool.
  8. Draymond Green – For starting a Twitter fight with a beat reporter, probably for good reason.
  9. Kristaps Porzingis – Because this photo.
  10. Joakim Noah – Because he’s a top 3 NBA human. Juliet Litman said it, therefore, it’s bible.

Happy All Star voting everyone!

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Our Bulls wrapped up their first entire month of play on Monday with a huge win against the San Antonio Spurs. Despite moments of brilliance, sovaldi sale this Bulls team is what I’d like to call a ‘beautiful basketball disaster.’ Chicago sits third in the Eastern Conference behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers with a 10-5 record. The Bulls’ standings and record doesn’t warrant any panic, doctor but there have been some inconsistencies that kept fans shaking their heads in disbelief.

Under new coach Fred Hoiberg the Bulls anticipated amping up their offense and loosening up the focus on defense. Surprisingly, here the Bulls have been the fifth worst offense (according to NBA.com), but have been the leagues sixth best defense. They’ve had some embarrassing blowout losses to lowly NBA teams, but have also beaten some of the top teams in the league.

Derrick Rose has been playing with double vision after suffering the orbital fracture during training camp. He hasn’t been able to consistently put up offensive numbers, but his presence on the court is absolutely noticeable. He’s still quick and can create plays for his teammates to score. There are a lot of Rose haters out there these days after all of his injuries, but the Bulls are a better team even with a cross-eyed Rose. His vision is only going to get better.

Overall, our Bulls are where most analysts predicted they’d be. They have a deep roster, they struggle to find offense occasionally, but when they play team basketball they win big games. We can call them fabulously flawled?

Best Moments:

  • Monday’s 92-89 win against the Spurs was one of my favorites for the Bulls. The Spurs are a red-hot Western conference force, only trailing the undefeated Golden State Warriors. The Bulls came out ready to play both ends of the court. The entire team played well and Joakim Noah finally looked like himself (thank goodness).
  • Bulls started the season with a big home opener win against the Cleveland Cavaliers (it was technically October, but we’ll let it slide).
  • They stole a big game from the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 104-98 game at home.

Woof – lets just forget about these games:

  • The Bulls got spanked 105-130 to the Charlotte Hornets – this one still makes me cringe.
  • A 102-93 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves also was a tough one to swallow.

November’s MVP:

Easy peasy – that would be Jimmy Butler. He may just be a top 10 player in the league and is absolutely the most consistent player on the Bulls roster. He’s averaging 20.3 points per game, 2.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds. Now he’s no Stephen Curry putting up 34 points a game, but Jimmy Buckets is the guy the Bulls can count on this season. He’s like a nice wine, he just keeps getting better with age.

The Bulls have to be cautious with Butler as he is obviously one of the most crucial players. Reports confirm Butler has been playing through the pain of a sore heel since November 20th’s game against Golden State. He says he’s going to play through the pain, but lets not push things – there’s still a lot of season to play.

I’m also going to give an honorable mention to Pau Gasol. His stats are not quite as amazing as seasons past, but the big man has been crucial to the best Bulls wins. Let us applaud the game winning block he had against Lebron James in the home opener.

Must Watch December Games: 

  • December 10th the Bulls host the LA Clippers at 7 PM
  • December 25th the Bulls head to OKC to face the Thunder on Christmas Day – games at 1:30 PM
  • December 30th the Bulls close out the holidays with the Pacers at the United Center at 7 PM. This is a big one as the Bulls and Pacers are 1-1 this season and both conference and division rivals.
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On paper the Chicago Bulls have started the season just fine.  They’ve got a new head coach, nurse they’re 8-4 and sitting pretty at third in the Eastern Conference – no sweat right? I beg to differ. This Bulls roster isn’t necessarily star-studded like some of their competitors, check but rather stocked with plenty of seven-foot monsters. What’s the problem you ask? The Bulls either have failed to use their size advantage against opponents all while some big guys are struggling to find themselves all together. It’s a BIG mess.

My biggest concern is Joakim Noah who honestly seems like he needs a hug.  Jo-No spoke out after the Bulls’ loss to Golden State, his fifth scoreless game of the season,

“I’ve got to be more aggressive offensively and look for my opportunities. Right now I’m not really sure where I can get them, but when they come I have to be ready and I have to be ready to score.”

Noah’s stats are at an all-time career low. His offense is just straight up missing currently averaging 2.5 points a game. It’s almost like he’s afraid to take shots he’s made a million times before. Let’s not even talk about rebounding, blocks and minutes played. With such poor offense, he hasn’t earned a spot in the starting rotation yet this season either. Coming off the bench is an obstacle in itself for Jo who’s always been a starter with the Bulls, but he’s normally such a force to be reckoned with it’s heartbreaking to see him so somber. Jo-No needs a serious confidence boost, otherwise we may never see the Defensive Player Year of seasons past.

NBA-vet Pau Gasol also has some concerns. His stats are far less tragic than Noah’s, but he isn’t moving and grooving like he’s used to either. As of right now, Gasol’s stats are similar to 2012-2013 when he missed 33 games due to injury. He isn’t a spring chicken in his rookie season, but he’s healthy at the moment and averaging fewer than 30 minutes a game (a career low). Gasol spoke out after the Bulls loss to the warriors as well,

“Sometimes we go one way and sometimes we go another. Especially when they go small they’ve got an advantage on the other end because they are going to spread the floor. But then you have to punish them on offense, make them pay for going small. That’s what we didn’t do; we don’t do enough. That’s the balance between our outside game and our inside game.”

Gasol knows he’s crucial to any team he’s a part of and he wants more opportunities to score. Derrick Rose is scheduled to come back against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday and hopefully he’ll be able to set up some pick-n-rolls for Gasol.

It’s tough to see such prominent players struggling to find their place on this Bulls team – especially Noah who’s been the heart and soul of Chicago basketball for the last nine years. These guys both need big bowl of confidence for breakfast and they should be fine. It’s still too early to send in the cavalry.

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Joakim Noah

My heart aches for Joakim Noah and his ailing knees. In less than two years Jo-No has gone from a MVP candidate and Defensive Player of the Year to knee surgery ruining his 2014-2015 season and coming off the bench for a second year player (Nikola Mirotic).  Talk about a tough turn of events. Now it seems those pesky knee issues have resurfaced and they could be a bigger problem than we think.

Joakim Noah is the heart and soul of the Bulls, viagra his energy alone can propel a team, viagra but do Jo-No fans need to brace themselves for the probable reality of Jo leaving Chicago?

Here’s the low down. He had actually been slated to start Monday night’s game against the 76ers, but decided to sit out due to knee soreness. Now normally, if a player has a little soreness we wouldn’t lose sleep over it, but this is a very telling season for Noah and his knees are the second worst next to Derrick Rose’s two completely reconstructed knees.

“You don’t plan on these things. I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve been feeling great up to this point, and it just happened. I don’t think it’s [anything] too serious, but it was definitely a situation where I had to be smart. I wanted to play tonight really bad.”

Another extremely important tidbit, Noah’s contract is up at the end of this season, he’s currently making $13.4 million and that seems a bit steep a price for a guy to come off the bench. Noah needed to regain his stature and prove to new Head Coach Fred Hoiberg he deserves his starting roll and his money. Otherwise, Noah could potentially be shopped around come the trade deadline in February because the reality would be the Bulls could lose Noah all-together during Free Agency this summer.

To top things off, the Bulls have TOO many big men. Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and that list doesn’t even include rookie Bobby Portis. Basically it’s too many cooks in the Center/Power Forward position kitchen and not enough shooting guards. The Bulls need to unload one of them.

Noah hasn’t had the comeback season he had been hoping for, but it’s still early. Maybe coming off the bench wasn’t his thing, but his most memorable moment was elbowing a Hornets player. What happened to all those triple-doubles of seasons past? If his knees can get it together, Noah has  plenty of time to step up his game. Unfortunately, if Noah’s knees don’t cooperate, we could have a goodbye in our future.

It devistates me to think about Jo-No and all his messy-bun-swagger wearing a different jersey, but I think it’s safe to say Noah fans should prepare ourselves for potential NBA heartbreak.

 

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Noah and Butler

Alright, cialis alright, sovaldi sale alright! Who’s ready for some legitimate Bulls basketball? (raises hand eagerly) Preseason is fine and dandy, but it’s like going to get Froyo and just having some taste-test samples – you love some, you like some, but ultimately you want to put your favorites all in one tub and experience the magic! So maybe I enjoy Froyo too much, but I am also ready for the Chicago Bulls to run the floor of the United Center on Tuesday kicking off the new season. Who better to challenge our favorite men in red but the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers? Let the rivalry continue!

Remind me, why do we care about the Cavs?

Here’s the skinny, Cleveland currently is and has been the favorites of the Eastern Conference – which is the Bulls conference. First and foremost, they have Lebron James the four-time NBA MVP. He’s a freak of nature when it comes to basketball and my favorite player to hate because he’s always on the opposing team. The Cavs as a whole have crazy depth (we’re talking Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson) and can suffocate their opponents on offensive AND defense. Question is, will the Bulls new offensive-minded approach be enough to overpower the Cavs? Well, we’ll just have to find out.

Keep Your Eyes On: Lebron James and Jimmy Butler

Despite the few Derrick Rose hopeless romantics left in Chicago, we all know this Bulls team is going to be led by Jimmy Butler. He signed his big boy contract this offseason and now we need the man to perform. Butler always plays Lebron James tough since his professional game was developed under Thibodeau who preached defense. Lebron James, is rumored to not be practicing after a back injection, but he claims he is healthy and ready to go. Lebron James with the flu is still tougher to play than most guys in the league so Butler has his work cut out for him – per usual.

Big Bench Mob: 

Joakim Noah has been demoted to come off the bench according to Coach Hoiberg and Nikola Mirotic will be starting in his place. JoNo’s never been the team’s most prominent offensive player, but after a career low season in 2014-2015 and a new offensive minded coach, Noah needs to add something else to the mix. Apparently, that something else is going to be coming off the bench, but I mean Taj Gibson AND Noah off the bench is rather intimidating to other team’s reserves. I kind of love the depth.

Masked Man:

This is definitely day-to-day, but as of right now Derrick Rose is slated to play in the home opener at the United Center on the 27th. Before the orbital fracture during practice (aka breaking his face) I was so optimistic about Rose this season, getting a healthy chance. Now he’s rocking a mask that looks incredibly uncomfortable and I would imagine it’s so hot and sweaty under there. Regardless, we’re not going to get top notch DRose for the home opener, but we may at least hear his name called during introductions. Also, totally unrelated to actually playing basketball, please enjoy the irony of Rose’s Addias 6 slogan “Never Break” – it’s too much for my heart to handle.

Two years in a row our Bulls have kicked off their home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. You know those NBA schedulers are adding fire to the already existing rivalry on purpose. Tip-off is at 7PM on the 27th, be at the UC or tune in! Time to #SeeRed Bulls babes.

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I’m closing out my vacation this week with a very bizarre feeling – I had to ‘watch’ the NFL games from Twitter while road tripping through Italy. MY LIFE IS SO HARD 🙁 I somehow survived Tuscany (and – to be fair – the worst cellular service ever) (it was like a third-world country, cialis but with wine), made it to Rome and am currently enjoying some pretty stellar wifi. Whew. I did, however, see that Jay Cutler did Jay Cutler-like things on Sunday and felt the wrath of Michael Wilbon 3500 miles away. So I drowned my sorrows in Sangiovese. Again, life = hard. Speaking of football…

It must suck to be from Cleveland. Other than Joakim Noah’s colorful (and truthful…?) comments about what there is to do there, there’s also the fact that the sports teams are pretty much at some level of insufferability 100 percent of the time. The Cav’s have come this.close to a title like 87 years in a row, approximately. I’m no baseball savant, but I never hear about the Indians doing, well, anything. Hell, Cleveland sports curse even has it’s own Wikipedia page. But the Browns make life especially hard for their diehards – and I should know, I’m a Bears fan and Jay Cutler is my quarterback.

Case and point: Johnny Football. He got in the game last week when Josh McCown was out with a concussion. And like in all Disney movies, he won. Depending on who you talk to, it was either a tremendous chess match with superior unparalleled quarterback artistry or a mediocre display of game management. I could be exaggerating here, but eight completed passes is impressive. I could be exaggerating on that one but most likely not.

Anyway…. Let’s take the X’s and O’s out of it for a moment. Let’s live in the pretend world where sports are entertainment and dude’s like Johnny would bring joy into the hearts of Brown’s fans everywhere. Wouldn’t it, in fact, be advantageous to…I don’t know….keep the guy in as starter as to make your team relevant and fans happy?

Of course not. They want to focus on winning games because they clearly have a shot at the Super Bowl. And there isn’t any other quarterback I’d want on that game-winning drive then Josh McCown. So back to the bench for Johnny; hopefully those poor fans in Cleveland have people in their lives who can talk them off of that ledge…and not just make fun of them.

In case you missed it

These are going to be the sports stories that I personally find funny but are not necessarily on the radar. I’m light-hearted so all of these will hopefully give you a chuckle. I know, I know: not all heroes wear capes. You are welcome.

Darren McFadden in FLIP FLOPS (!) during his NBC Sunday Night Football photoshoot.

Nope.

 

 

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