Joakim Noah: "I’m somebody who brings the winning spirit" (Part One)

Joakim Noah: "I’m somebody who brings the winning spirit" (Part One)
May 20, 2007, 06:14 pm
Jonathan Givony: So how are you enjoying the training so far?

Joakim Noah: I’m enjoying it. I feel like I’m really, really lucky. I feel like in my three years at Florida I might be the player that has experienced the most, maybe in all of college basketball period. Because of not being to play my freshman year to all of the attention I got after being MVP in the tournament. After all the criticism after being under a magnifying glass basically, my junior year, I feel like I’ve experienced so much and I feel like it’s only going to help me. And right now I feel more and more confident in my abilities and I feel like I’ve realized I’ve experienced a lot of things and it’s only going to make me better in the long run.

Jonathan Givony: What kind of shape do you think you’re in right now?

Joakim Noah: I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. I’d say I’m pretty close to 85-90%. And I’m not going to lie, the first week was hard because we really partied like rock stars, winning back to back championships and we get a lot of love out there. But, you know, I’m happy to be in a routine. Everything is top of the line out here. I feel like Joe Abunassar is a great workout dude and this is a great weight lifting facility. I mean everything is just right here. We are basically working out from eight to four everyday and it’s good because you’re too tired to do anything and there is so much to do in LA, but you’re just so tired you don’t even want to do anything. You’re in bed by ten o’clock.

Jonathan Givony: Right, that’s how we were yesterday. What are you trying to work on the most here? Anything specific?

Joakim Noah: I’d say of course my jump shot. I feel my jump shot is something that people have always questioned. And I feel like at Florida, its one thing, and here I feel like I’m just more and more confident in just shooting it. I feel like at Florida all of us had to sacrifice a lot in order to get to where we had to get to. I mean we had great shooters on that team. Everybody did what they did best and everybody understood their role. I understood that and I feel like a lot of guys understood that. It helped our team and that’s the reason we won back to back national championships. There’s a reason for that.

I mean, you look at a guy like Chris Richards, if you put him on any other team he would have started and his numbers would have gone up. I think if I played on any other team my numbers would have gone up too and the same thing goes for everybody. I don’t have any regrets. I’m very happy about what happened and we made history and that was the reason we came back. And people really understand that because we really did it. There’s no lying in what we did. Right now, I’m confident, I’m excited, and I have no regrets.

Jonathan Givony: Do you have a target weight that you’re aiming for? You have about six weeks before the draft. So is that part of the workout process here, putting on some weight?

Joakim Noah: Oh yeah, definitely. I feel like the guys over here are doing a great job giving us protein shakes after a workout, and we have nutritionists. I put on a little weight already. I put on like three or four pounds this week. The thing is, I don’t want to get too heavy. I feel like one of my strengths is just being able to run down the floor. That’s one thing, even though it’s one of my strengths, I still feel like that is something you can always do better: be better conditioned and in better shape and run faster and be quicker.

People say you have to use strength, but that’s something you still can improve. I feel like I have to get heavier to guard the power forwards and the centers. But at the same time I the one thing I will be able to do is just trying to beat them down the court. That’s something I did in college and I’m sure it’s even harder at the next level so that’s something I’ve tried to work hard at.

Jonathan Givony: Are the trainers here trying to get you to change your shooting mechanics. Is that something you’re looking at doing?

Joakim Noah: We spoke about it, and we said that, I mean right now, I’ve been shooting the ball pretty well. You look at a guy like Shawn Marion and some others who have weird mechanics. But as long as they get it done, that’s all that matters. They’re more worried about consistency and I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of that.

Jonathan Givony: As far as your draft stock, what are you hearing about where you are in the pecking order? What are people telling you?

Joakim Noah: Well, people basically go off of what you guys say. So basically from what I’ve been hearing it’s from five to ten. I mean lottery, top fifteen or something like that. I think what really matters is where those ping pong balls go. And, you know what, you can’t control these things. So the only thing I can control is how hard I go and workout. And I’m going to give it 150% and give it my best shot. And you know, if this was last year, and all I was worried about is stock, I would have left last year. Because the draft was a lot weaker than it is this year. The draft is a lot stronger and there are a lot of great players. Hopefully teams will realize that we did make a sacrifice, and I hope that ends well. And hopefully in these workouts I can show that I can score and there are things that I can do well that maybe people don’t know about yet. It’s exciting and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’m just happy to be in this situation.

Jonathan Givony: Does it really matter though? Three, five, seven, fifteen?

Joakim Noah: To me it’s more about where you go and where you can shine. But, I mean of course, as a player of course you want to go high in the draft. I mean, yeah I’d rather go three than fifteen; there’s no question about that. To me it’s more about finding the right fit; somewhere you feel comfortable, somewhere where can shine and of course somewhere that you can win. To me that would be the most important thing, finding a place where you can win.

Jonathan Givony: Everybody has an opinion on what you do well and what you don’t. I’m curious about your own scouting report. What do you feel are your biggest strengths, if you’re trying to sell yourself to a GM. What are the things that you do best?

Joakim Noah: I feel like I bring energy, on and off the court. I feel like I’m a people person, I’m somebody who is fun to be around in the locker room. I feel like I’m somebody who brings a lot of passion to the game. I’m somebody who brings the winning spirit, somebody who works the hardest. Sometimes that doesn’t mean getting at your teammates, but when your teammates see you pushing yourself like that it forces them to pick up their intensity level. And definitely one of my strengths, as Gators, we all know what it takes to win. So I feel like that’s something that GMs will understand, hopefully.

I feel like I can put it on the floor pretty good. I feel like I can pass pretty well. I feel like I can shoot, and now I’m getting more and more confident in my jump shot. I think that’s something I’ll be able to do. I’ll be good in the pick and rolls. I’m pretty athletic.

I think my biggest weakness is definitely my strength. I feel like I have to get stronger, but I think that that will come with time. If I don’t get it, it won’t be from not trying, because I’m going to give 150% to work on all my weaknesses. I mean I love the game, I’m a fan of the game. I love watching the NBA, I love watching college basketball. I feel like all my weaknesses are things I’m going to work to get better at and if I don’t, it won’t be because I didn’t try.

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