Now that Nerlens Noel has been officially introduced, Philadelphia 76ers fans are left to ponder, what can we expect from Noel? Noel, certainly has high expectations surrounding him, but will have his NBA debut delayed due to his ACL injury. Now that he is an official Sixer, it is a good time to go over what exactly fans can expect to see from Noel in his first season.
For starters, Noel is not going to be ready for the start of the season. He is still rehabbing his knee, and currently does not have a timeline on when he will return. At his introduction press conference, he said this.
I’m doing six hours of rehab a day, and I’m making a lot of progress.”
Noel was brief, and did not have much to say about his injury. When could we realistically see him debut? Well, no one knows the actually answer to that question, but my best guess would be shortly after Christmas. Some may complain about how we traded our all-star point guard for an injured, unproven rookie is a bad idea, but really it’s a smart move by the Sixers. Not only did they acquire the most talented player in this years draft, but they also put themselves in a good position to add more young talent next year by getting another first-round pick. Clearly, they aren’t looking to win next season, so let Noel heal properly and come back when he is ready. He is the future of this team and letting him take his time recovering is the best move the team can make.
Now the main focus, what can we expect stat wise from Noel next season? I see Noel showing us similar numbers to what we saw in college. As a rookie, he should have no problem picking up where he left off defensively. I expect Noel to average around 10 rebounds a game, and 3 blocks. Those are numbers of a true rim protecter, which he is fully expected to be. Offensively Noel has much room to grow. I expect him to contribute around 9-12 points on a nightly basis as a rookie. Most of his points will be off of dunks and layups, as he does not have much of a jump shot. Noel has the talent to be an elite scorer, but that will come with time.
Philadelphia 76ers fans are going to have to be patient with Noel, and the entire team in general. Fans need to understand the direction of this team, which is obviously building for the future. Although we won’t see him until sometime after December, waiting will defiantly pay off. Now all Sixers fans can do is sit back and prepare for Noel to debut, and watch him develop into a star in the NBA.