This shouldn’t be a shock, it’s rather a logical extension of the 76ers long-term plans and their rather painful experience with Andrew Bynum last year. But it still is a little jarring to hear it.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said Monday before the 76ers preseason game that Nerlens Noel likely will miss the entire season, something reported by CSNPhilly.com.
Brown said Noel’s progress is “slow” and “everybody (Brown included) doubts he is going to play this year.”
“But he is with us in every way — practice, film, shootaround,” Brown said.
Noel suffered a torn ACL last February during his one season at Kentucky, the severity of that is one of the reasons he slipped from the likely No. 1 pick all the way to No. 6, where the Pelicans picked him up. They promptly traded him to Philadelphia as the centerpiece going north in the Jrue Holiday deal.
Philadelphia was not going to rush him back because their plan is long term — they want to pair him with a high draft pick from this season. They are going bad to get good and they have a lot of picks in the next few drafts to stockpile young players and make their own core.
So why bring Noel back early? Give him the Blake Griffin experience of sitting out your entire rookie year, traveling with the team and observing, learning by watching. Griffin has said he learned a lot that season that helped him in his Rookie of the Year campaign the next season.
Plus, after the experience the Sixers had with Bynum last season it’s better to say he will not be back then have him surprise people and play than to go the other way around and set up expectations.
So don’t expect to see Nerlens Noel this season along the Philly front line, just a lot of Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen.