When Joakim Noah joined the Clippers, his expectations were to bring his knowledge on and off the court. The Clippers wanted him to become a mentor to their younger centers Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell.
Noah spoke with The Athletic's Jovan Buha about his relationship with the young Croatian center.
“I just want to talk to [Zubac] about some of the things that I’ve been through,” Noah said to Buha. “I’ve been in situations where we had championship aspirations and then injuries kind of derailed that. So it’s just not taking your opportunities for granted. And just because you’re a young player doesn’t mean that these situations happen all the time. So it’s just like really living in the moment."
While Noah wants to provide the guidance, it's also an expectation the Clippers had from him upon the signing. He's accepted that role, and ready to provide whatever bit of knowledge he has.
“They made it very clear what they expected from me,” Noah said. “And I think that, as a player, that’s all you can ask for.”
It's easy to forget, but Noah is as good of a defensive center that Zubac could ask for in a mentor. Here are Joakim's defensive accolades:
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2014)
- 2× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2013, 2014)
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2011)
Joakim Noah waited nearly all year to make his debut with the Clippers. As the NBA season is approaching a return, expect to see his impact on and off the court. Expect to see Ivica Zubac step up as a defensive player.