ESPN Chicago, Joakim Noah praises Anthony Davis

December 27, 2014
By Nick Friedell (source)

CHICAGO -- All-Star center Joakim Noah has high praise for New Orleans Pelicans All-Star big man Anthony Davis.

"He's a freak," Noah said after Saturday morning's shootaround, in advance of Saturday night's game between Pelicans and the Chicago Bulls. "He can shoot the ball -- there's not a lot of things he can't do on a basketball court. He affects the games in a lot of ways. Even though his stats are crazy, there's a lot of things that he does that you don't even see on a stat sheet that affect the game. He's a hell of a talent."

Anthony Davis earned praise from the Bulls' Joakim Noah. "There's not a lot of things he can't do on a basketball court," Noah said Saturday.
Saturday's game marks the first time Davis will be playing in an NBA game in Chicago. Davis missed games in his hometown the last two years because of injury. The Bulls know they have a tough challenge on their hands.

"You don't guard a great player in this league individually," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That's impossible. So we're going to have to have great team awareness. And [Davis is] so good in so many different areas. He's great in transition, he's great in the pick and roll. He's become very effective in the post. He can face you up. His first step is lightning. He's got great touch, he's a real active second jumper, you can throw the ball to the top of the backboard, he can go get it. There's not much he can't do and he plays for the team. He plays to win."

Davis, who went to Perspectives Charter Schools, put on a show for Team USA last summer during an exhibition game against Brazil at the United Center and acknowledged after the game how much fun he had playing in front of his hometown fans. Thibodeau, who was an assistant on Team USA's staff, got a firsthand look at how dominant Davis can be.

"You can see he has great vision," Thibodeau said. "Growing up he was a guard and that's probably benefited him. Now he's putting it all together and defensively he's as good as it gets. He covers so much ground and he can cover for mistakes. His reaction to the ball is phenomenal. He sees things quickly. A very, very talented guy and a great person on top of that."

Noah knows it will be a challenge trying to contain Davis on the blocks. Davis comes into the game averaging 24.4 points and 10.2 rebounds a game.

"He hustles," Noah said. "He runs the floor better than anyone in the league and he goes after it. I'm sure he'll be pretty excited to play at home, too."

Bulls backup point guard Kirk Hinrich will miss his third straight game because of a strained left hamstring.

"He's just concentrating on his rehab," Thibodeau said. "Hopefully he'll be ready soon."