Joakim Noah is leading the Bulls in points and rebounds per game, and a big reason why is because his minutes have gone up this year.
Joakim Noah is leading the Bulls in both points and rebounds per game, and is tied with Taj Gibson for the lead in blocks per game. A big reason why, according to the Tribune's KC Johnson, is Noah's minutes have increased so far this season.
Noah is averaging 16 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, and 39 minutes per game through four games this year, up from just over 30 minutes per game last season. The team has needed others to step up during Derrick Rose's absence, and while the season is still very young, Noah appears to be the one stepping up the most. A big part of that, according to him, is that his conditioning has improved:
"I feel good," Noah said. "The older you get, you kind of understand what needs to be done. I understand recovery a little bit better. This isn't my first rodeo."
He's also managed to avoid foul trouble, for the most part. Noah fouled out of the Bulls game against the Hornets, but did not record more than three fouls in any of the Bulls' other games. Head coach Tom Thibodeau cited Noah's improved understanding of the game as a big reason why:
"He has been around now and he understands how to play," Thibodeau said of the sixth-year big man. "His body position has improved dramatically. He has the ability to think ahead. He has developed more of a multiple effort mentality. That's what has helped him the most."