Nerlens Noel was selected with the sixth overall pick in last summer’s draft, and the Sixers traded Jrue Holiday for him in order to jumpstart their rebuilding process.
But we have yet to see Noel take the floor for Philadelphia this season, in much the same way that Andrew Bynum missed his entire year with the team while attempting to recover from multiple injuries.
The difference with Noel is that the Sixers are intentionally bringing him along slowly. There’s no rush, after all, considering that Philadelphia is the team most accused of tanking this year, despite new NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s protests to the contrary.
We’d still like to get a preliminary look at Noel this season, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in the same set of circumstances. But at least publicly, he continues to view the possibility as a question mark.
“He is (doing more). He’s slowly doing a little more physical stuff,” Brown said after Friday’s practice. “He’s slowly doing a little more and you can play him against another body. I highlight the word ‘slowly’ and I highlight the word ‘cautiously,’ but he’s doing it.
“A little bit more. I don’t want to paint the wrong picture. A little bit more, but he’s moving in that direction.” …
“Whether we ever get to see him in a game this year, it really is, ‘Who knows?’” Brown said. “I’ve gone on (the) record to say I wish I could coach him and get some games under our belt with him. But the boxes he has to tick, the ones we’ve always talked about, those have yet to be ticked.”