Nerlens Noel teased everyone when he suggested that he could play again this season, specifically on April 4. The Philadelphia Inquirer quickly stopped that train, though, when they reported that it was unlikely for Noel to actually play again this season.
A source with knowledge of the situation doesn’t expect Noel to play this season as he recovers from last year’s knee surgery.
Still, what he’s been doing in recent practices with the team has done enough to turn a few eyes on the Sixers staff, specifically coach Brett Brown.
Per CSN Philly’s Dei Lynam, head coach Brett Brown sees more than freakish athleticism in Noel’s game: “The first thing that I have fallen in love with is that he is beyond competitive. There is a dog in him, a toughness in him that I misjudged.”
Brown also called Noel “a fierce competitor” before acknowledging the “bounce” that made him such an attractive draft prospect. We all knew Noel has the physical potential to be a game-altering defender, but the insight into his intangibles comes as welcome news to a team that will need something of a cultural shift after a season spent at the bottom of the standings.
It’s probably for the better that Noel isn’t going to play this season. After all, there really was no point to it, anyways. The best thing to do going forward is to bring on Noel when he’s right, not when it’s convenient.
The Sixers are one lucky ping-pong bounce away from a very young and talented team next season. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be exciting no matter how it turns out. Sixers fans have a lot to look forward to next season, if all goes as to plan.