John Wall is one of the most athletic players in the NBA, and Joakim Noah (for all of his talents, and there are many) is one of the least, especially on Monday night returning from a multi-game absence due to a shoulder injury. With that in mind, what Wall did to Noah on a Chicago Bulls fast break is completely unfair.
Noah was understandably rusty (and probably not fully healthy, judging by his reaction to hitting the hardwood after he gets rejected) in his return from injury, going 0-7 from the field for a scoreless 18 minutes of action. He really thought he’d had his two points here too, but John Wall erased him from existence for a brief moment.
Meanwhile, Wall continues to be a superstar, making jaw-dropping plays on a night-to-night basis while being one of the very best passers in the NBA. It’s a shame the Washington Wizards, at 17-19, haven’t progressed along with him as the rest of the Eastern Conference has improved. They’re on the outside of the playoffs looking in, despite their impressive 114-100 win over the Bulls.
The Bulls, despite the loss, are looking better than they did when the Jimmy Butler rumors were at their worst, in part because Derrick Rose looks healthier than he has in years. The refrain about the Bulls has been “if Derrick Rose ever gets back to his old self,” etc. The thought that it may actually be happening adds a sense of urgency to the Bulls’ frontcourt rotation issues.
If Chicago can find a mix of minutes that actually works between Noah, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol, and youngster Bobby Portis, they look like the prohibitive favorites to be the number one challengers to LeBron’s Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.