Joakim Noah returned to Berto Center on Monday feeling feeling healthy in mind and body and with a newfound perspective on the game thanks to the NBA lockout, but that doesn't mean the Bulls center doesn't still feel the sting of last year's loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
"I know I wasn't happy with the way it ended at all," Noah said. "It took me a while to get back from that. I think that's a normal reaction. "I even watched a couple of the games in the summer time. It was pretty depressing stuff.
"At the same time, you realize that the games were really close and it really comes down to one or two possessions. We're a young team. We have to use that to our advantage and learn from our mistakes because we can play better than we did last year. A lot of people say we maximized [our talent] but I don't think so. We can do better."
Noah said missing games during the lockout gave him a new perspective.
"You realize how much you miss playing with your teammates and how privileged we are to be playing in these unbelievable arenas and playing at the highest level," Noah said. "It's pretty cool."
Noah worked out with the French National team, his former coach at Florida Billy Donovan and with Derrick Rose in California for 10 days his offseason. He said he has fully recovered from what he called a "serious" ankle injury that slowed him late last season.
"I've just been working on everything, just trying to get stronger, working on my hook shots, around the rim; my jumpshots," Noah said. "I'm feeling pretty polished."