Game 7? Kerr wants LBJ, KD -- and Noah
March, 4, 2014
AP Photo/Rich PedroncelliSteve Kerr believes Joakim Noah's intensity makes him an ideal player for a Game 7.Steve Kerr is like just about everyone else when it comes to picking the two players he would want on his side for a Game 7 on the road. The game's two best players, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, are no-brainers.
But the TNT analyst and former Bulls sharpshooter caused a bit of a stir on Twitter Sunday when he named Joakim Noah as his third choice.
If I had to pick 1 player to play a Game 7 on the road, I'd take LeBron 1st, KD 2nd and Joakim Noah 3rd. Noah is an amazing player/winner.— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerrTNT) March 2, 2014
"I think the point is the first two are really obvious," Kerr said Tuesday on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "The next one is pretty hard to pick and there's a lot of guys you can make a great argument for: Paul George, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin. But the reason I like Noah is that in a playoff game it's all about possessions. You want to get extra possessions because usually games come down to two or three plays here and there. If you can get a few extra possessions it's huge.
"I just feel like for what Noah does at both ends of the floor -- rim protection defensively, pick-and-roll defense in an era where you're facing 50 picks-and-rolls a night with incredible guards, switching out on the guards, staying in front of them and forcing tough shots and the assists at the other end, running the offense through him and the offensive boards and the touch around the basket and his ability to score.
Kerr said he made a similar comment last season before the Bulls defeated the Brooklyn Nets in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series and joked that Noah made him look really smart. The Bulls center had 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks in a 99-93 road victory.
"I just think those types of games, Game 7s, there's so much that goes into winning and you have to have someone who can really make an impact at both ends. That's to me what separates Joakim. I know he's not nearly the offensive player that some of those other guys are, but the combination of what he does and then above all the competitiveness, the fight, the spirit, the will he brings to his team is just something to watch."
Kerr said he believes that because Noah's game is fueled by passion and intensity he is better suited to thrive in a high-pressure situation like a Game 7.
"Game 7s bring out the best and the worst in people. I've been in a few of them and it's nervous time," Kerr said. "I've had moments where I came through and I've had moments where I failed. I know that just from an emotional standpoint it's a roller coaster so you need guys who are sort of going to be able to rise above that and breakthrough and just compete like crazy.
"Part of his game is he's not really a scorer. He affects the game so many different ways that a Game 7 might not faze him as much because shooters might freeze up on their shots a little bit, but a guy like that he just plays on energy and passion and I think that can kind of transcend the pressure that comes with a Game 7."