I still wouldn’t bet on it.
Smart money is last year’s first round pick Nerlens Noel will sit out this entire season recovering from an ACL injury, there is no reason for Philadelphia to rush him. That’s been the accepted wisdom.
However, when Noel was interviewed on SiriusXM NBA Radio with hosts Jason Goff and Sam Mitchell Monday he left the door open (CSNPhilly.com also reported this).
“I mean, (sitting out all season) hasn’t been really said. We’re just definitely taking our time with it and being very cautious with things, definitely worrying about my health. But as it regards to the whole season, that decision hasn’t been made up. I still have to meet with my doctors, Dr. Andrews and Kevin Wilk, and come to a conclusion on that.”
So, he could return this season?
“It’s a possibility.”
Noel was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick last season but slipped down the board after his injury. Landing with Philadelphia was a perfect spot for him — they were not going to rush him back. They also have a nice young point guard to pair him with in Michael Carter-Williams (who has missed the last 7 games, but that’s another story).
If at the end of the season he’s able to go and they can get his feet wet with a couple NBA games, great. Consider him a late-season call up in baseball. Noel is going through team shootarounds and film sessions, getting used to the NBA life.
But I still bet he sits the season out.
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.