Five Players To Be Excited About Watching In 2015-16

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Apr 8, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4) dribbles against the Washington Wizards at Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards won 119-90. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

How about a hand for Nerlens Noel? He averaged just under 10 points per game last season, and that’s an impressive statistic for a rookie. I can’t help but get excited about the potential Noel has. His offense was good, as mentioned earlier, but his defense was the real shining of Noel’s rookie year, with 1.9 blocks and 1.8 steals, forcing a grand total of nearly four turnovers per game.

While some players can be seen as expendable, and possibly just faceless, moveable pieces to the rebuild, Noel has made it clear he’s in it for the long haul. This season isn’t a first page to the Noel book, but that’s no reason to not get excited. The beginning of his career was one that hooked us, and now he’s got to sell himself as a player, and show us he can be a decent player for more than just one season.

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One thing that may end up making that tougher is the addition to the front court, Jahlil Okafor. Their first round draft pick has high expectations, and certainly is expected to be a large part of the offense. Balancing things between Noel and Okafor could be tough at first, especially offensively since we’re expecting a majority of plays to involve Okafor one way or another.

Due to this, I think Noel needs to either make it clear that he’s not just a supporting player offensively, or really focus on defense and start becoming an even bigger shut down defender.

Still, I’m excited to see the two of them play together and hope they don’t clash. I’m hoping they mesh and can balance their skill sets to become one of the most dangerous starting front courts in the NBA. They still need a cool nickname.

With the addition of Jahlil to the offense, I’m expecting Noel to float right around eight points per game, but focus more on defense than last year. I’m expecting him to get five turnovers a game.

Next: Robert Covington