Earlier this month, Philadelphia 76ers’ big man Nerlens returned to the court for the first time since tearing his ACL while playing for the Kentucky Wildcats back in February of 2012. Noel’s debut, which came against the Orlando Magic in the Orlando Pro Summer League was certainly impressive – he put up 19 points, four steals and two rebounds in a loss to the Orlando Magic.
Noel has been held out of a few games as a precaution but has finishing both the Orlando Pro Summer League and the Las Vegas Summer League healthy and according to several scouts, 76ers’ fans should be very excited about Noel’s future. Zach Harper explains just how impressive Noel has been.
“Watch him on defense and you begin wondering how he wasn’t the top pick in that draft,” another scout offered up about Noel. “Sure, you had concerns with the knee and those legs are so thin it’s worrisome. If New Orleans doesn’t make the playoffs soon or struggles to find a guy to put next to [Anthony Davis], how do they justify that trade?”
Noel is a prowler on defense. His instincts aren’t perfect but they’re pretty close for someone with such little experience. His activity is noticeable. As he rotates over to someone looking to drive to the rim, the anticipation in the building increases. Any and everybody in the building with an eye on the game are waiting for the shot to be sent back at the shooter. It’s hard to glean too much off of two games in Vegas, and Noel knows he can’t be satisfied.
With Michael Carter-Williams in the back court and former Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid and Croatian forward Dario Saric set to hit the floor for the 76rs at some point in the next few years, the future seems bright in Philadelphia.