Abdul-Jabbar lauds Joakim Noah

Updated: June 2, 2011, 12:19 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar didn't introduce Joakim Noah's name into the ongoing debate regarding the best player in NBA history, but he did say the Chicago Bulls center could become a "monster" with an improved offensive repertoire.

"I would have to have a chance to work with him and see what he is willing to do," Abdul-Jabbar said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Some guys are uncomfortable shooting the ball in various ways.

"You can't get somebody to go outside of their comfort zone immediately. Sometimes you have to coax him out there and give them the opportunity to find it and work toward it."

Noah averaged 11.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game in the regular season as the Bulls won a league-high 62 games. But his production dipped in the postseason to 8.7 points and 10.2 boards.

The lack of offensive weapons allowed defenses to focus more intensely on Derrick Rose, and that played a role in the Bulls losing to the Miami Heat in five games in the Eastern Conference finals.

"If [Noah] had an offensive game he would be a monster," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He is a very good player. He is so selfless and would do anything for his team and will do anything for his team. I really admire his character and well, the whole Chicago team.

"If Joakim Noah can get some offense going it will make for some balance. If they have an inside threat, they can't just focus on stopping Derrick. Derrick has the defense geared to make him less effective in the same way they had the focus on Michael [Jordan]. Then when Michael got some guys around him, it was lights out. They started to dominate and they won their six world championships.

"I remember when Michael got hurt, his first year, it was 1984 and then every year after that for 10 years he led the league in scoring. He was just unstoppable. Until he got the right balance of talent around him so that the Bulls had more than one threat it was hard for the Bulls to succeed as a team that went far into the playoffs and eventually won the world championships."

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