One of Joakim Noah's biggest supporters admits the Bulls' center isn't playing as well as he has in the past.
"His energy level is not the same," Charles Barkley said during Monday's NBA coverage on TNT. "I have loved how hard he has worked but he has not played up to his capabilities this year. Even though Chicago has a great record he has not played like he has played the last couple of years."
Noah's scoring, rebound and minutes are down as he has found himself on the bench late in games while backup Omer Asik is on the floor.
"He's a guy that rebounds, runs and blocks shots," analyst Kenny Smith said. "When you don't do that and you are Joakim Noah, you are really not that productive on the floor. He has to get back to rebounds, runs and blocking shots."
Here's Barkley on his MVP choice in a 15-game season. "If I had to pick an MVP right now, I would say it was Kevin Durant because I reward winning. But the best player on the planet right now is LBJ (LeBron James), the president as I call him."
Shaquille O'Neal on his MVP choice in a 15-game season: "LBJ (LeBron James), followed by Kobe (Bryant) followed by D.Wade (Dwyane Wade)."
Barkley did say he believes the Bulls and Heat are the best teams in the East.
"Chicago and Miami are so far ahead of every team in the Eastern Conference...it's not even close."