Where does Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah rank in your eyes as a leader?
As Chicagoans, we had the ultimate leader in Michael Jordan, of course. As I look back at the night Noah was drafted by the Bulls in 2007, I remember not being overly thrilled with the pick. He couldn't really shoot, his free throws were an adventure, and his exuberance sometimes got in the way of his effectiveness.
But the Bulls did their homework on this one and go it right.
While he had a few bumps in the road early with some youthful transgressions, the last two or three years this guy has turned himself into a bona fide NBA all-star. He has matured tremendously, and good things happen when he is on the court.
Noah plays hurt, he has plenty of heart, and he refuses to give in. Beating the Brooklyn Nets in Game 7 on the road was Jordan-esque. I'm not sure if I ever thought Noah could match Jordan on any level, but I am singing a different tune right now.
If somehow the Bulls were to upset the Miami Heat, this team would cement itself in history. Of course, no one is expecting that to happen, but I believe they have a shot simply because of Noah.
Should Del Negro be fired?
It seems head coach Vinny Del Negro may be on the hot seat again with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers won their division for the first time ever, collecting a franchise-record 56 victories during the regular season.
But then they lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs, and I guess some people expected them to win.
Del Negro deserves to come back. I watch the Clippers all year and never really expected them to win the West or a playoff round. After Chris Paul, who was neutralized by Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, the Clippers have Blake Griffin and then a bunch of ordinary players.
Remember, the Clippers let basketball Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor flounder for two decades as general manager, yet Del Negro's team wins a division but deserves to be fired after a first-round exit?
George Karl gets knocked out in the first round more often than not, but he's a genius according to some NBA experts.
The Clippers should sign Paul, pick up a shooter and leave cousin Vinny alone.
Watch me on "Mancow" on WPWR Ch. 50 at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Friday and Monday.
• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.