We’re not likely to see a potentially fun Michael Carter-Williams/Nerlens Noel pairing until next season — Noel is expected to miss this entire season recovering from ACL surgery he suffered at Kentucky last year.
But the Sixers are not wasting that down time — they are completely rebuilding his shot.
With a full year to put him in the gym and teach new habits, the Sixers have gone back to the basics with him, coach Brett Brown told Dei Lynam at CSNPhilly.com.
“I think we have the perfect environment to do it because we have a whole year,” Brown said. “We have taken him back to doing a lot of one-handed shooting. I can sense that he is shooting with two hands behind my back. But when he does that, the off hand comes in and elbows start flying. But when he does just one hand, he gets his elbow under it and it is a good looking shot….
“It is his future,” Brown said of Noel investing time in his shooting technique. “The first place you start is the free throw line because now he is going to turn and face. He really likes Kevin Garnett, a turn-and-face, jump-shooting big, and he aspires to be one of them even though he is a post player initially. I think the free throw is what carries over to the other parts of the game. And I hope we can get that right.”
In his year at Kentucky Noel almost never used his jump shot — he scored in transition or using his athleticism. When he got the ball in the post, back-to-the-basket, he didn’t have the strength to get to the basket and his footwork needed improvement, so it was jump hooks.
That will not fly in the NBA, he’s going to need the ability to score from 12-15 feet out with a face-up jumper, plus improve that footwork and touch around the rim.
So the Sixers have a full season to take him to school (and add some muscle). Which could mean next Summer League when Noel 2.0 is unveiled he looks very different than the guy we last saw at Kentucky.