Philadelphia, PA - According to Bob Cooney, a 76ers writer for Daily News, the Philadelphia 76ers do not expect rookie big man Nerlens Noel to play in the upcoming NBA season. Head coach Brett Brown stated that he and everybody else doubts that Noel will play. It’s certainly disappointing for the fans, but it’s the right move to get Noel back to full health.
Noel is coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered while playing for the University of Kentucky last season. He averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, and 2.1 steals per game last season with Kentucky before the injury. Obviously from those numbers you can see that he is a defensive genius and that he’s a good rebounder. His double-figure points per game total will more than likely not translate to his early NBA career.
The 76ers acquired Noel in a draft night trade with the New Orleans Pelicans that included sending All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to New Orleans. Many fans were upset with the trade of Holiday after he came off the best season of his career, and was beginning to look like a point guard that they could build around.
Offensively, there is a lot to be improved about Noel’s game. He only weighs 228 pounds which will not be enough to allow him to bang with the NBA’s big men. While he’s able to score at times in the post, he has no range from anywhere past 6-7 feet. The 76ers will need him to work on his offensive game if he’s going to live up to being the 6th overall pick. Defensively, he’ll be just fine as long as he’s able to bulk up a bit. He’s very athletic and has great instincts as far as timing blocks.
Overall, he’s going to be a great player or bust. There’s a lot of stuff that he needs improvement in, but also some things that not many players are gifted with as well. It’s a good move to keep him out this entire season and let him recover, and then unleash him next year at full health.