JOAKIM NOAH - Draft 2K7
High School: Lawrenceville Prep (NJ)
Hometown: New York, NY
College: University of Florida
Position: Power Forward
Weight: 227 lbs.
Noah does so many things well, there is just no way he doesn't immediately help any team that takes him. He runs the floor better than any big man that has come out of college in several years (this is slightly arguable, but not very); he can finish with either hand at the rim; he has a good handle; he's excellent on the glass; and he can block shots. What coach isn't all about that skill set? Of course, his biggest asset is his second-to-none intensity/unbridled energy. We watched him workout here at Target Center, and trust us -- his pedal is always on the floor. Also, his mom was Ms. Sweden in 1978. Cool.
The kid's jumper isn't exactly textbook. In workouts he's shown the ability to get hot and knock several shots down in a row, but his technique will need to improve if you ask him to hit the open J in an NBA game. The fact is, most teams aren't going to be isolating Noah offensively on the low block, so his lack of offensive skills may be less of a concern, particularly on a team that has several offensive options. Let him set screens, hit the glass and run around. Lastly, his footwork isn't tremendous, and he's skinny for an NBA power forward.
HOW WOULD HE FIT WITH THE WOLVES?
Minnesota hasn't had a glue guy that does all of the dirty work (and does it well) for a few years now, and Noah would immediately change that. The Wolves defense and rebounding would see immediate improvement, and Noah's ability to run in transition and get on the offensive glass would translate into easy baskets. He may be the only player in the draft that can match Kevin Garnett's intensity in practice every day, and that can only help Randy Wittman's squad. He's also rangy enough on defense to be effective in man-to-man or in a zone.
WHAT ARE OTHERS SAYING ABOUT NOAH?
Dennis Valesco, About.com Basketball Insider:
"Noah is a winner and he'll bring a winning attitude to whatever team he ends up with. He needs to work on his offense, but his big-time effort on every play will make an impact even if he doesn't score a point in a game."
"NBA Comparison: Tyson Chandler (higher basketball IQ)... For his size, Noah’s is a surprisingly solid ball handler … This becomes evident when he gets the ball in the high post and dribbles past his man for a lay-up … High energy player who plays games with great passion and intensity."
"His lack of a jump shot will allow teams to exploit him in the NBA, but his energy, ball handling, passing and defense should still make him a valuable contributor."
David Thorpe, NBA personal training coach:
"Magic (Johnson) and (Larry) Bird won eight NBA championships between them. If Noah can handle his meteoric rise with grace and maintain his drive to improve, he has multiple rings in his future."
ESPN.com Player Card:
"Noah has the ability to do a little of everything -- he can score inside, block shots, crash the glass on both ends, handle the ball on the break, make passes that only point guards are supposed to know how to make. In short, he's everywhere ... sort of a 7-foot (Andrei) Kirilenko."
Shawn Seigel, CollegeHoopsNet:
"The lack of strength/mass and offensive repertoire holds him back, but he also seems like one of the Draft's biggest locks. He's basically a glorified role player, but one that could be ready to play 25 mpg from day one."
"Being a worldly person who has traveled around the globe as the son of a famous tennis player and musician, coaches and teammates rave about his attitude and character both on and off the court... His basketball IQ is high and his motor is simply off the charts, making it that much more likely that he’ll be able to achieve his potential as a player."
NBA.com Player Card:
"Length, foot-speed, anticipation and sheer desire make him an exceptional defender. Tough competitor. Excels in the transition game. Has shown improved range on his jumpshot."
WHERE WILL NOAH GO? (Internet Mock Draft Recap)
Chad Ford, ESPN.com:
#8 to Charlotte
NBA.com Consensus Draft:
Jeff Goodman, FoxSports.com:
#7 to Wolves
Anthony Maggio, Fanball.com:
#6 to Milwaukee
#9 to Bulls