New York Knicks' Joakim Noah: 'I feel like there’s another level that I want to get to'
Jan 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives to the basket past New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks center Joakim Noah has had a rough start in the Big Apple, but he thinks that his play is going to get better.

Joakim Noah was playing through an injury to his shoulder during Thursday night’s home win against the Chicago Bulls, 104-89, but managed to have one of his best games of the season. The New York Knicks got 12 points and 15 rebounds from their starting center.

Despite his big night, Noah told Al Iannazzone of Newsday that he could be even better.

“I feel like I can still do better. I feel like there’s another level that I want to get to . . . I’ve just got to keep pushing and getting better.”

Noah was the most high-profile free agent signing of Phil Jackson’s tenure in New York. Jackson made a four-year, $72 million commitment to the former Defensive Player of the Year with the hopes that his injury-plagued play during the prior two seasons was a fluke.

He hasn’t performed well overall on either side of the court but on Thursday night we saw that trademark energy Noah exuded on a regular basis with Tom Thibodeau’s dominant defenses. His teammates noticed too.

Derrick Rose:

“You could tell he was pumped. He likes talking BS. I mean talking [expletive].”

Kyle O’Quinn:

“Jo was on us all game, screaming.”

It’s gone unnoticed because of the losing, but Noah is averaging 8.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in his last ten games on 56.3 percent from the field.

Those are the kind of numbers New York expected from him. It’s Noah’s defense that has been a problem. He’s been routinely outmuscled by big opposing centers like Steven Adams, Al Jefferson, and Joel Embiid.

Next up for the Knicks is a road contest vs. the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.