We’ll see if the Bulls, as was their aim, got the best player available. Unquestionably, they got the worst suit imaginable. Years from now, Joakim Noah will still be hearing about the seersucker tuxedo he wore on the night the Bulls made him the No. 9 pick in the 2007 NBA draft.
We’ll see if the Bulls, as was their aim, got the best player available. Unquestionably, they got the worst suit imaginable. Years from now, Joakim Noah will still be hearing about the seersucker tuxedo he wore on the night the Bulls made him the No. 9 pick in the 2007 NBA draft. For the Bulls’ sake, here’s hoping he’s hearing about it from talking heads trying in an interview to soften up a superstar. If he’s hearing about it, instead, from amazed tourists stumbling across a vaguely familiar giant smoking clove cigarettes in a Parisian cafe, well, maybe John Paxson will regret not going with Spencer Hawes. On Thursday, Paxson had no regrets. Neither did Noah regarding a get-up that at worst made him appear every bit the foppishly soft Eurobrat some fear him to be, and at best, ready to play keyboards on a Sly and the Family Stone reunion tour. Seriously, I’m thinking that bow tie had a former life as a cushion on Felix Unger’s sofa. “I think it’s something funky,” Noah said of the ensomme via phone from New York. “There’s always going to be haters, but I feel I got a lot more love than hate, and I feel like it was a good look. I’m very happy with it, and I think it was definitely successful. “Somebody said I looked like Bozo the Clown, though. I didn’t like that.” Otherwise, there wasn’t much for Noah to be displeased about on this evening. “I feel like I’m the luckiest dude in the draft,” Noah said. “I mean, I can’t believe — Ben Wallace. I get to play with Ben Wallace. That’s awesome,” he added. “I’m a big fan of Luol Deng and Ben Gordon and Kirk (Hinrich). It’s just awesome, a great situation, a team that’s going to win a lot of basketball games. I just can’t wait to be a part of it.” There was a pleasing amount of unbridled happiness — dare we say joie de vivre? — displayed by Noah upon his selection. It was to be expected from a player widely celebrated as a “high-motor guy.” Of course, he is also a low-shooting guy. This is not to say there has never been a success among someone who gets off a shot so near his hip. Earl Anthony would be one. Maybe Wyatt Earp. “We understand what the concerns are from maybe an offensive standpoint,” Paxson told ESPN moments after the pick was made. “But the guy is an energetic, athletic seven-footer. As we look at this thing going forward, the next five to 10 years, he’s the type of guy with his energy and enthusiasm on the floor, we think he fits in perfectly with us.” In some respects, he does. Noah will run with the Bulls. He’ll block shots, play defense, and he’ll hate to lose. “I think hating to lose is more important than skills, actually, because I feel like there are players that are better than me, but I get the best of them just because I hate to lose and some people don’t care as much,” Noah said. Basically, the Bulls drafted Ben Wallace’s understudy rather than the scorer to play beside him. While a trade remains the most likely route for Paxson to find his low-post scorer, he said Noah was in the Bulls’ long-term plans. “Absolutely,” he said. “We need size on our roster.” Hawes, more offensively polished than Noah, considered highly enough by the Bulls to have been brought to the Berto Center twice prior to the draft, was selected by Sacramento immediately after Noah went to the Bulls. Handy, that, as a future reference point. But Hawes was probably no more than the player the Bulls would have settled for if Noah hadn’t been available. Reportedly, the Bulls were ready to spend their No. 2 pick on Noah last year, but the 2006 Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four opted to stay at Florida, where he and his teammates won a second straight title last March. They have him now — an energetic gift wrapped in an ugly package. If, years from now, the above “ugly” recalls only a bow tie and not a jumper, Paxson will look like a genius. Phil Arvia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 633-5949. Read his blog at http://blogs.dailysouthtown.com/arvia