Repeatedly injured and ineffective when on the floor, Joakim Noah looked washed up last season. For centers on the wrong side of 30 and with heavy mileage, those problems usually only worsen – bad news for the Knicks, who signed him to a four-year, $72 million contract in 2016.
But Noah is eliciting quotes that – even in the preseason, a time for hope and optimism – stand out.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, via Howie Kussoy of The New York Post:
“Coming off those injuries, literally, I’m shocked of how well he’s played just because I didn’t think he was gonna be ready this early,” Jeff Hornacek said following practice Saturday. “I’m extremely happy with how he’s playing. He’s playing the right way. He sets great screens, he rolls hard, which opens up other things for guys if he doesn’t get it. He’s been finishing with driving layups. He’s been playing great.
“He wants to come back and show everybody what kind of player he is and he’s worked hard to do that over the summer. I give him a lot of credit so far.”
The true test will come when the regular season begins 12 games into the regular season, once Noah has completed serving his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.