Joakim Noah says right now he feels no pain in his foot, no plantar fasciitis. That despite a summer where he worked out plenty, even training with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His foot feels fine.
If the Bulls are going to be the contenders they think they are, Noah still has to be fine in April and May (then maybe June). Two of the past three seasons, he has been slowed by plantar fasciitis during the season and postseason.
That means coach Tom Thibodeau has to keep his minutes under control. Which he said he would do, something discussed by K.C. Johnson at the Chicago Tribune.
Thibodeau has said dropping Noah’s minutes is a priority, so both the All-Star center and the Bulls are hopeful the recurring problem becomes manageable. Aiding the situation will be Thibodeau’s trust in Nazr Mohammed. Though the Bulls tried hard to land Marcus Camby and Elton Brand to add big-man depth, not having Mohammed buried on the bench early like last season will help.
Mohammed is nice, but look for the Bulls to consider big men that are cut by other teams during camp. They could use more depth up front (unless you think Dexter Pittman or Malcolm Thomas are really the answers).
The bigger question is can Thibodeau keep Noah and Luol Deng from being right at the top of the league in minutes played? Is Thibodeau willing to sacrifice a couple regular season wins to get his guys rest and keep them fresh? He’s talking a good game but we need to see it in action to believe it.