Nerlens Noel sat out all of last season after he was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Pelicans, and then traded to the Sixers that very same night.
Noel was projected to go as high as number one overall, before injury concerns set in and teams feared that he wouldn’t be able to contribute during his rookie season — much like Joel Embiid, who Philadelphia similarly selected this year.
But taking the long view seems to have paid off for the Sixers, if Noel’s Summer League debut is any indication. The big man showcased a variety of skills on both ends of the floor, and finished with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting, to go along with two rebounds, three assists, four steals and a blocked shot in a little more than 26 minutes of action. He also converted all seven of his attempts from the free throw line.
Noel has been 100 percent for months now, so his strong showing shouldn’t come as a total surprise. He’s still raw in many areas, but showed a nice touch on his shot, an ability to get out in transition, strong footwork and a good defensive instinct around the basket.
Noel talked about his debut afterward, and his remarks can be seen in the video clip below courtesy of Basketball Insiders.
Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.
Where will Team Brazil turn now?
Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.
At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.
If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.