5 Reasons Why Nerlens Noel Can Win Rookie of the Year

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Jan 15, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4) watches from the bench during the third quarter against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Bobcats 95-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Experience From Sitting Out a Season

A rookie being able to take a “red-shirt” year in the NBA can be an extremely valuable experience, even though they don’t step on the court. Wouldn’t most of us have been better at our jobs initially if we could have shadowed the company for a year beforehand? Nerlens Noel was able to take all of 2013 off due to rehab, but he was on the bench for every game and with the team in practice. He was learning about the game, watching it and being able to take everything in.

The year off also gave Noel the opportunity to rework his jump shot, something 76ers coach Brett Brown worked with him on before every game. The injury could be a blessing in disguise. If Noel didn’t sit out his first season rehabbing, then who knows if he would have ever had the time to develop and retool his jumper. The drafting of Joel Embiid means that one of the two big men will need a jump shot for the pairing to work. If Noel sports a jumper this season that looks somewhat consistent, then the injury might not have been the worst thing in the world. Not to mention, Noel probably isn’t on the 76ers without the injury in the first place.

Regardless, Noel already has a leg up on his competition from sitting out a year. He had the opportunity to fine tune areas of his game that others — namely Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker — won’t have the opportunity too.

Also, some may remember that Clippers big man and All-Star Blake Griffin missed his entire rookie season due to a knee fracture. Griffin took a red-shirt season like Noel and completely dominated the League during his first season. Griffin had a monster rookie season, even tallying 27 straight double-doubles at one point, en route to being the 44th rookie — and first since 2003 — to be named to the All-Star squad. The highlight reel machine that is Blake Griffin made it obvious how beneficial his red-shirt year was to his development and impactful rookie season. Could the same be said for Nerlens Noel? We certainly hope so.