Tom Thibodeau, the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, has displayed his affinity for the players on his old Chicago team. In addition to having Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson on his roster, the Timberwolves also recently signed former Bull Luol Deng. Accordingly, people around the league are calling them the TimberBulls. The only piece left of the puzzle is Joakim Noah, and the Wolves reportedly have some interest in acquiring him as well.
The Timberwolves are full of young talent that is in need of some direction by seasoned veterans, and Joakim Noah fits that bill. The two-time All-Star has a high basketball IQ and could undoubtedly impart some wisdom onto players like Karl Anthony Towns. Noah is also a former Defensive Player of the Year, and anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that being a good defensive player is more mental toughness than physical. It’s about being in the right spots, knowing when to go over and under screens, when to switch, and always communicating with your teammates. The Wolves have struggled to play good defense in the past and adding Noah could help them improve in that department even if it isn’t through Noah’s contributions on the floor.
The Knicks are ready to move on from Joakim after their fallout last year, and it seems that the T-Wolves are the only team that have interest in the center who is clearly past his prime. If he does wind up in Minnesota, the TimberBulls roster will be complete.
Featured Image via Flickr/Jeff Villanueva
Noah Vonleh signed with the Knicks on July 24th, adding some much-needed height to New York’s roster. With star power forward Kristaps Porzingis expected to miss extended time with an ACL injury and the impending release of Joakim Noah, Vonleh offers a short-term solution to this gap in the depth chart.
So what exactly does the former top-ten pick in the 2014 NBA Draft add to this Knicks team? The answer is rebounding ability.
“Rebounding has always been the biggest thing for me. Since I was a young kid, I was always able to rebound. I got a good eye for what angle it’s coming off and just going after it. That’s my skill that got me in the NBA. That’s what I get myself going with,” said Vonleh. “I think I can definitely bring a lot. They lost guys like Kyle O’Quinn, and Porzingis is hurt right now. Enes Kanter is a great rebounder, but I think I can help with that and bring energy.’’
This assertion is substantiated by his stats. Last season, he averaged a career-high 5.8 boards (17.1 rebounds per 48 minutes), including 6.9 rebounds a game as a member of the Bulls in just 19 minutes of action. Vonleh was particularly effective on the defensive glass, posting a career-high 30.2 DRB%.
During his lone season at Indiana, he was a menace on the boards as well, averaging 9 rebounds per game as a freshman before forgoing his eligibility to enter the NBA.
His numbers have improved with each passing season, and Knicks fans have every reason to believe that this trend will continue.
He has been working hard this offseason to improve upon his skills including his participation in training sessions with NBA All-Star Draymond Green, who knows a thing or two about pulling down missed shots off the glass.
Hopefully, a change of scenery is exactly what Vonleh needs to unlock his true potential.
Featured Image via Flickr/Bryan Horowitz