Joakim Noah was front and center after the Wednesday shootaround.
First, the Bulls big man was talking about the NBA Cares Community Assist award he will be given before the game against the Indiana Pacers for his recent push toward anti-violence.
Secondly, for the minutes restriction watch that he’s been under throughout most of this season.
“When you’re an athlete, you have a platform,’’ Noah said of his “Rock the Drop’’ campaign. “I think it’s really important to use it. My father did it when he was an athlete. I’m definitely inspired by the work he did in France. Ever since my dreams of becoming an NBA player, this was part of it—having a foundation, doing positive work.
“Chicago is a place that really needs it. We need as many after school programs as possible. That’s why I’m so proud of wearing that drop because I think it’s a symbol for giving back to the neighborhood. Everybody can be a part of it.’’
On the court, the concerns with Noah – especially since he missed the game in Philadelphia last week when his surgically-repaired left knee was again acting up – remained the minutes restrictions. The latest number was 32 minutes, and Noah’s absence because of those restrictions the last two games was felt.
“It’s frustrating,’’ Noah said. “I think I’m not the only one who’s frustrated sometimes. I think it’s part of the grind. I’m just trying to stay focused on what’s important and trying to win basketball games. I’m not trying to get caught up in any noise or anything like that. I don’t want to be a distraction. We’ll figure it out internally and do what’s best for the team.’’
Noah was asked if the restrictions weren’t lifted by the playoffs would he go to voice his concerns to management, and said, “As coaches and an organization, all together I think we can talk and figure it out. That’s fair.’’