Chicago Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles publicly reprimanded rookie Joakim Noah on Wednesday for his comments after Tuesday night's loss to the Clippers about the Bulls not playing in unison.
"If I had just played my first pro game, I'd probably keep my mouth shut, to be honest with you," Skiles told reporters at the Berto Center. "It's obvious we're not playing to our ability. There's no doubt about that. I may have a little problem with the phrasing of that, but the point is probably spot-on. But it probably should be somebody else speaking for the group."
Noah appeared shaken by Skiles' reaction Wednesday when reporters confronted him with his coach's comments after practice.
"I don't want to say anything. There's no ... um, there's not . . .. I don't have a problem with coach Skiles, OK? If he feels that way, I'll shut up," Noah said.
Tuesday night, Noah bluntly assessed the state of the 0-4 Bulls. He said he wanted to see the Bulls give it that "old college try," beginning with tonight's game with the Detroit Pistons.
"Every game we play is like, 'Oh, wait till we play the next one. We'll be all good. We're going to kill them the next game.' That's not how it works," he said. "You just have to play possession by possession like it's your last. I don't think we're doing that now."
Noah had two points, four rebounds, three blocks and a steal in nearly 19 minutes in his NBA debut, a 97-91 loss.
"At Florida, we played together so much, like every day, and we knew what it took to win ballgames," he said as he leafed through a French magazine that included a feature story about him. "Losing was unacceptable. Even if we didn't play well, we found ways to win basketball games. " ... It's tough right now. We have 78 more games to go. Our attitude has to be to see the big picture and learn from this.
"I think we're playing hard, but I feel like we're just not together. Everybody's trying to do it by themselves, instead of playing as a team. I think that's the problem."
Skiles might not approve, but Noah is one rookie who speaks his mind.