Nerlens Noel has yet to play an NBA game this season, after being selected sixth overall in last summer’s draft by the Pelicans and then being traded to the Sixers in exchange for Jrue Holiday.
Philadelphia is the team most associated with tanking this season (i.e., willingly losing games due to lack of personnel), and not rushing Noel back to action, at least initially, was viewed as being part of the team’s strategy.
But Noel is getting closer. And with the Sixers near the bottom of the league-wide standings, there’s no reason to hold him out if he’s truly ready to play, as he could gain some valuable real-world experience over the final few weeks of the regular season.
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) March 9, 2014
That was sent from Noel’s Twitter account, and while there’s nothing concrete in place, it’s a goal that he’s shooting for, if nothing else.
Nerlens Noel would like to make his 76ers debut in his hometown of Boston on April 4, according to sources. They confirmed that’s why the rookie center tweeted “4-4-14” in reference to April 4, 2014 on Sunday afternoon.
The Sixers (15-47) play at TD Bank that evening against the Boston Celtics.
The sources said this is just a wish that he had not disclosed to the Sixers as of Sunday afternoon.
This appears to be a target date for Noel more than anything, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown recently stated he has no idea whether or not Noel will take the floor for his team this season.
But that’s not likely to be the case. Brown is being cautious where his highly-valued rookie is concerned, though if he’s truly ready to play for the last couple of weeks of the season, there’s no reason not to begin to get him acclimated to the NBA experience.