He hasn’t even played a game for them yet, but it looks as if Joakim Noah is already embracing what the Clippers culture is all about.
“I think this is a great fit for him,” Lou Williams said when asked about his teammate. “We’ve embraced him, he’s embraced us, he’s embraced our culture, so I think he’s a great fit for what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Noah was signed to a 10-day contract by the Clippers back in March, but just days later, the NBA season was suspended, with Noah never getting an opportunity to play for LA. After it was announced the season would be resumed, the Clippers wasted no time in making sure they retained the center, as they signed him not only through the remainder of the 2020 season, but through the end of the 2021 season as well.
This past week has been the first real opportunity Noah has had to get some minutes in and get to practice with his teammates for real.
“I think he’s played well this week,” Williams said. “We’ve had a lot of competitive situations where he’s been able to show he’s a seasoned veteran in this game. He’s had some deep playoff runs, he’s had some success in his career, and he has an opportunity to get back on his feet after a career-changing injury.”
Last week, Noah talked about getting a second chance with the Clippers and how he’s ready to contribute. After suffering an achilles injury last season, it looked as if that would be the end of the road for Noah. However, he wasn’t ready to give up.
“The once Defensive Player of the Year?”, Rodney McGruder said with a smile when asked about how Noah has fit in with the team. “He’s just bringing that energy every day. That’s something that I’m learning from him, and it’s just the intensity and just the persistence that he plays with on the defensive end, how you always hear his voice; he’s always yelling, he’s always talking.
“There’s just a lot of things you can pick up playing with someone that won that award. That’s a high award to win. Just his approach to the game I’m picking up and just how he is as a teammate.”
With Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell not currently in Orlando with the team, Noah is the only center the Clippers have at the moment. That likely won’t be the case once the season resumes, but the Clippers will still be expecting a lot from the veteran.
“I don’t know what we need from him yet,” Doc Rivers said when asked about what the team will be expecting from him. “We need him to be a solid veteran player. We need him to be a leader as much as he can lead, to be a great example, to be a teacher to Zu, and then really just to be ready when called upon. I think mentally he’s in the right space right now to be ready, so I think he will be.”