Joakim Noah is playing nearly 40 minutes a night, and while the 27-year-old center feels he's up to it, he acknowledged that the playing time provided a challenge.
Noah is No. 2 in the NBA in minutes played, averaging nearly 10 more minutes per game than any other year in his career. On the plus side, he's averaging career highs in points, nearly doubling his previous best assists total, and near a career best in rebounds. The playing time allows him to go out and score 30 points and grab 23 rebounds, as he did in a 43-minute outing against the Detroit Pistons last week. But the next night, he had nine turnovers and looked out of sorts against the New York Knicks. Noah spoke about his extended floor time:
"You definitely feel it. It's no joke, man. You just have to be more conscious about of what's going on around you. You have to be more conscious about taking care of your body. That's all."
There's several reasons for his increased action: first of all, there's no other true options, as the only other players over 6'10 are Nazr Mohammed, who is averaging less than a point a game on below 20 percent shooting, and Vladmir Radmanovic, who is by no means a center. Secondly, Tom Thibodeau has a tendency for riding his stars: the only player with more minutes per game than Noah is his teammate, Luol Deng, who plays 41:10 a game.