Nerlens Noel wants to play. Badly. He even tweeted about it.
Not surprisingly, the Sixers are forcing him to take things slow.
For the first time since October Noel spoke with the media on Tuesday (as you can see from the video above). Among the things he said was that he has added 8-10 pounds of weight and has increased his vertical leap by three inches. The Sixers also have been retooling his jump shot, something we are not going to get to see until Summer League.
Here are a few highlights, courtesy Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com.
• Regarding 4-4-14 tweet: “It was a goal of mine to be able to come back and be cleared to play by the Sixers by then, but I was not, and that’s that.”
• His wanting to play: “Obviously, I do want to play,” Noel said. “A 19-year-old wants to get out there. I want to show my abilities, just be able to play ball. It has been tough, but it is something I had to do. I definitely look forward to playing. Sam Hinkie is a great GM. He put me in this position to play for Philadelphia. I understand the risk/reward, but I am very eager and because of my competitiveness, I really want to play basketball again.”
Kobe Bryant reflected, told stories and showed his emotions.
For nearly 25 minutes, the Lakers star talked about his pending retirement. It was pretty cool.
DeAndre Jordan‘s free-throw problems – 38.7% this season, 41.5% for his career – are mental.
You can’t watch this trip to the line and convince me otherwise.
Nene hurt his calf. Drew Gooden is banged up. Martell Webster is out for the season.
Those are three players the Wizards expected to play power forward this season.
So, Washington – which has lost four straight – will bring in another big man: Ryan Hollins.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Wizards have a full roster of 15 players. They don’t qualify for a hardship exemption, which a team gets if four players have missed three straight games and will continue to be out. Only Webster and Alan Anderson definitely fit that bill. Gooden, who has missed five straight, might. But it’s unclear both how many of those absences were due to injury and when he’ll return.
So, Washington will have to waive someone to sign Hollins now. It’ll probably be Webster, whose $5,845,250 2016-17 salary is just $2.5 million guaranteed. If he’s out for the year and the Wizards plan to drop him by the summer to clear cap space, why not just do it now?
Hollins is more center than power forward and doesn’t appear to fit well with Marcin Gortat. But at this point, Washington just needs big bodies. Hollins – a nine-year veteran who plays decent interior defense, lacks offensive skill and rebounds poorly for his 7-foot frame – is at least that.
Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.