The words “Nerlens Noel” and “shooting range” were not used in the same sentence in scouting reports last season. Except with “has no” in between. As evidence, we present his shot chart from 2014-15:
That’s a lot of red.
Noel is trying to change that; he’s been working on a jumper, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.
“I think it’s really going to help me as a basketball player overall, especially at [power forward],” Noel said of the daily workouts. “[It will] help space the floor with my ability and start hitting the jumper consistently and complement our whole offense. And, you know, just changing my whole game and how effective I am….
“It’s a pressure year for me to show what I am capable of and definitely show what I worked this hard for,” Noel said of the coming season. “So I think I’m in a good position to showcase it all. My ceiling will be better at the four position.”
As a practical matter, Noel has to develop some shooting range and step out as a four if he wants to be a Sixer. Rookie Jahlil Okafor is the guy who will be getting the majority of post touches next season, plus there is the possibility of true center Joel Embiid playing the season after that (if his foot heals). The five spot is pretty full in Philly. Noel has to play the four.
Big men considered one-dimensional can develop reliable jumpers, just ask Blake Griffin. The Sixers reconstructed Noel’s shot, and it’s something he worked on last season at practices and before games. But it was going to require more time and more intensive training, which is what he got this summer.
If he can start to step out to 15-18 feet and knock down shots, his entire game will change — and a Sixers team without enough shooting (Nik Stauskas here’s your chance) can certainly use it.
But everyone has seen that shot chart, Noel is going to have to prove it first.
(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)
It’s a sentence that doesn’t lend itself to positive vibes:
Sixers’ center Joel Embiid had a second surgery on his right foot, which included a bone graft to help it heal and a replacing of the two screws already in there. He will miss all of the 2015-16 NBA season, just as he missed all of the 2014-15 season.
But in a conference call with reporters, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie tried to put out the positive vibes. He had a positive spin on everything.
“I’m optimistic. The doctors that operated on him yesterday are, too.…
Do you have reason to be concerned? Of course…. I asked (one of the surgeons, Dr. Richard) Ferkel if he re-broke this thing what would’ve happened. He said he would’ve heard a pop like last time. Joel said no. It’d be terribly painful. He pushed on the navicular bone and Jo said it didn’t hurt at all.”
Embiid was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, but has yet to set foot on an NBA court due to his foot injuries. This surgery is expected to take five to eight months to heal, meaning he could be pushed to try to play at the end of next season. But the Sixers are not going to take that risk, Hinkie said.
“We are focused on these first six or 10 weeks (after surgery) right now. Then we will get to that next phase… No one wants to be second-guessing this a year from now or 10 years from now or four years from now.”
It’s still too early to write Embiid off or call him a bust. Guys do come back from this injury.
Admittedly the signs and history do not bode well if you’re a Sixers fan. Plus, if the rumblings that he was not fully committed to the rehab and his conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be are true, there are some real issues.
But he’s young and could bounce back. For his sake and the Sixers, let’s hope so.
On July 11, the 76ers announced they anticipated Joel Embiid would undergo surgery within 7-10 days.
So, though Embiid’s surgery was reportedly scheduled for today, you’ll have to excuse me for wanting confirmation it actually happened.
Mike Sielski of The Inquirer
Embiid will likely miss the upcoming season. It’s another crushing blow for the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. He already missed what would have been his rookie season with a foot injury, and there are major concerns about his career.
But – 38 days after Philadelphia’s announcement – at least the healing can begin.