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News » He has touch down: Noah improves offense

He has touch down: Noah improves offense

He has touch down: Noah improves offense Midway through the third quarter Friday against the Washington Wizards, Bulls center Joakim Noah caught a pass about 15 feet from the basket and immediately launched one of his infamous sideways-spinning jumpers.

As soon as the ball left his hand, a Bulls fan sitting in the first couple of rows behind the basket yelled, ''Noooo!!!''

The ball, though, swished through the hoop and created an embarrassing moment for that fan, who had assumed a Noah jumper was akin to a turnover.

That reaction was understandable based on Noah's first two NBA seasons, but he worked all summer to improve his offensive game and seemed like a different player in the preseason.

Playing in all eight games, Noah averaged 10.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 26.9 minutes. He capped the preseason with a 13-point, 16-rebound effort against the Wizards.

The numbers tell a story, but the eye test provides the most convincing argument. He made a few nice post moves in some of the games and had a play against the Wizards in which he gathered a loose ball about 20 feet from the basket and made a move off the dribble all the way in for a layup.

''I'm feeling good,'' Noah said. ''I think there are still some things I've got to touch up. I think I turned the ball over a little bit too much during the preseason, but overall I'm happy with where I am health-wise. I feel in good shape; I feel strong; I feel confident.''

The coaching staff has noticed that confidence and has given Noah a larger role in the offense.

''We're trying to put him in areas where, when he catches it, he feels confident in putting it up,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''It puts more pressure on the defense, which is good for us because it spreads us out.''

Besides working on his offensive game, Noah spent hours in the weight room to improve his strength.

He put on a modest 10 pounds but is noticeably bigger in the upper body and has done a better job of holding his ground -- even when the Bulls faced Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard last week.

Noah holding his ground in the paint is one of the keys to the Bulls improving their overall defense.

''I think there are areas we definitely have to address,'' Del Negro said of the defense. ''But I like our activity, I like our help, I like how we're talking more, I like our rotations and I thought our transition defense in the last couple of games has been better.

''I've seen progress.''

The same could be said of Noah.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 27, 2009


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