Nerlens Noel was expected to be the number one overall pick in last year’s draft, but that honor went to Anthony Bennett (who has been horrid this season), and Noel slipped to sixth. He was drafted by the Pelicans, and was then traded to the Sixers. Noel tore his ACL last season while in college, and Philly came out and said that they expected him to miss the entire season while he rehabs.
Noel is a guy who can bring athleticism and shot blocking to a team, but his offensive game is very raw, and he has a lot of work to do. The Sixers have completely rebuilt his shot, and with the news of him being cleared for basketball activities, fans are anticipating his debut this season. According to what he told Bleacher Report, he is on track to showcase his stuff:
“I’m very excited,” Noel told Bleacher Report on Thursday, more than 11 months since he suffered the injury as a freshman at Kentucky. “I’m really excited to start playing and really show how much I care about his team, and how much I want to bring a lot of light to it and bring it back to that championship top.”
“I’ve definitely benefited from the work with one-hand ball shooting,” Noel said. “I’ve already seen a difference in my free throws, and my shot’s coming along as well.”
“Depending on what I do this year, if I play or not, I’ll definitely have a good idea of what I really need to work on,” he said, “Just sitting on the bench, it’s really helped me grind, just seeing how fast the game is. I know I won’t completely know until I start playing, but even when I’m watching, Coach Brown just tells me things to watch out for. They’ve definitely benefited me in a very good way, and I think when I do come back through the whole ACL process, I will be able to come back stronger mentally and physically.”
Having him sit out most of the season was a fantastic idea by Philadelphia, and they seem poised to help him develop. In the article, it also says he has gained 21 pounds of muscle, and he is getting stronger. Adding weight and muscle to his frame will allow him to play in the post and puts less pressure on his repaired ACL.
Whenever we see Noel make his debut, we will know it was after much planning and development. Let’s hope he can improve this weak rookie class.