Good Dunk, Joakim Noah.

via Get Banged On

EuroBasket 2011 has had its share of fun moments, and this is one of them. This isn’t a particularly flashy or creative dunk, but it has its own merits. This dunk is the climax of a hard-fought sequence, a pinnacle achieved not in one part, but in several necessary parts.  This is the kind of dunk I love.

Before the chance to dunk ever arises, Noah is already positioning himself strongly for the offensive rebound, in a way that many centers avoid and neglect. He sneaks in between two of Greece’s players (who are primarily focused on the driving player), and follows the ball with his eyes as it begins to rise towards the basket. Noah’s feet and body seem to move separate from the focus of his eyes, together serving as tools that combine but still act as individual mechanisms. As the ball bounces slowly off of the rim, the Greek players finally come alive and realize there’s a 7-foot rebounding machine standing next to them. They swat at the ball, but Noah’s elbows are not to be trifled with as the ball descends from the rim.

When Noah catches the ball, he makes a natural statement with his body language. Every movement he makes is so rough and yet flows together so fluidly. Noah rebounds like a skilled blacksmith strikes metal, firmly and yet uniquely. Once the ball is in his hands, the Greek players flail desperately, but Noah’s uninterested in their defensive attempts. His actions work apart from the defense. He takes a quick power dribble (gathering rhythm as he steps towards the basket) with a goal in mind, a goal he’s reached countless times in the past. The Greek defender in front of him makes one last desperate plea as he jumps in front of Noah, but it’s too late to stop the inevitable sequence of events taking place.

Noah is airborne and back on the ground in the blink of an eye, with an impressive dunk in tow. He dunks the basketball relentlessly, like the basket belongs to him. In this moment, it’s undeniable that it does. It’s a play that many have made before and many will make again, but it sums up Noah in a sense that few other plays can. He isn’t a gifted scorer or a harbinger of creative post moves, but Joakim Noah consistently does what he can do best: rebounding and dunking, ideally in succession. That’s his niche, and during this dunk, that was his basket.

 

 

Seth Carstens