The second this trade went down (besides my initial screaming like a little girl about losing Jrue), the comparisons were flooding in with Noel and Bynum. The world wanted to know why the Sixers once again, gave up an All-Star player for a center with bum knees. The perception that Bynum and Noel are similar, because of Noel’s knee injury, are ridiculous. These two players are nothing alike and should be treated that way. The only comparison between the two are that they are both gigantic human beings with some wild and crazy hair styles. The knee problems are not comparable at all. Besides, we all need to remove the word Bynum from our vocabulary as soon as possible.
The thing is, Nerlens Noel doesn’t have bum knees. Noel tore his ACL, an injury that is happening frequently in sports today. He will recover, he has said himself that he is doing around 6 hours a day of rehab. I heard he’s even been using that anti-gravity treadmill that the Sixers forked over for Bynum. Although a torn ACL is never easy to come back from, we have to look at the positives. Noel is only 19 years old with minimal basketball mileage on his knees compared to Bynum. Not to mention, he has his whole career in front of him, a promising one at that. Most people are aware how successful Adrian Peterson’s comeback from his torn ACL was this past season. Sixers fans can only pray that Nerlens Noel’s comeback will be ¼ of Adrian Peterson’s. The upside on this guy is enormous.
Bynum on the other hand, has a condition that he will never recover from. His knees are degenerative and missing cartilage that will not grow back. Having degenerative knees, means that his knees will never return to full strength. There is nothing to fix Bynum’s knees and he will have to suffer playing on them for the rest of his career, with them possibly getting worse every minute he is on the court (if he even gets on it). No amount of rehab will make Bynum’s condition better, there will always be a question mark above his head.
Noel went through successful surgery and has a promising future. No one has any idea what to expect from Bynum this year (which is why teams were so hesitant to sign him). Plus, Noel has the gift of time on his side. With the Sixers in “tanking for Wiggins” mode this season, there is no rush for Noel to come back any time soon. Personally, I’m okay with Noel sitting on the sidelines in a suit with that glorious flattop for all 82 games, you should be too.
After being one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago, Bynum seemed to be the centerpiece to push this team into contention. With all these expectations (plus the pressure making diamonds comment from Bynum), there was a rush for Bynum to play and save the Sixers. Fans, including myself, hanged onto every update, and began to lose faith with every update as well.
Two years later, expectations are extremely different, and the pressure is almost non-existent. There is no rush for Noel, because no one is expecting much from this team. This is a year of development for all the young guns this team has acquired this off season. The Sixers aren’t expected to contend immediately, this rebuild will take time.
All in all, the only comparison between Bynum and Noel is the fact that they are 7”0 monsters that change hairstyles as much as they change clothes. Nerlens Noel will recover from his ACL injury successfully and is putting in the work to come back as soon as possible. Bynum will never recover from his condition and no one will ever know what to expect from him, every time he steps on the court. Let’s all give Noel a break, and not compare him to Bynum. Let’s all rejoice that we get to hear stories about Noel rehabbing 6 hours a day, instead of Bynum flamingo dancing and bowling. He deserves his chance to be his own player. Rock on Nerlens Noel, I love you and your flattop more than you will ever know.