What If The Sixers Were Avengers?

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Apr 8, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Wizards center

Marcin Gortat

(4) shoots the ball past Philadelphia 76ers center

Nerlens Noel

(4) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


Nerlens Noel was on ice for a year after joining the Sixers. He was unable to do anything while his knee healed, and he rehabbed his joint to withstand the strenuous efforts of playing in the NBA.

Steve Rodgers was on ice for a lot longer time. After defeating the Red Skull, he crash landed a bomber into an ice field in the Arctic Ocean until he was rescued, just in time, to join the Avengers. He continues to be a key member of the group, despite the rotation of members on the team.

Is that all that links these two? I’m glad you asked. Captain America benefited from a “super soldier” formula, and used an impenetrable shield. That shield was so impervious, it even blocked killing shots from Asgardian Thor’s Hammer.

Nerlens Noel may not have an impenetrable shield, and he doesn’t often face the Asgardian hammer Mjolnir, but he does block shots. Plenty of shots.   Check out this 12 block performance:

But Captain America was not JUST blocking powerful blasts. He had an offense too. What does Noel have? While not as heralded as his defensie, Noel is quietly becoming quite adept on the offenive side as well.

"“All these thousands and thousands of reps we’ve gotten up over this past year and a half when I wasn’t playing… I just didn’t have the confidence I needed,” said Noel. “But now it’s coming around, and I’m just making sure that I can go out there and knock them down.”"

It’s not just a jumper, but the second-year big man has improved at the free-throw line. In 24 games at Kentucky, he shot 52.9% on free throws, and over his first 44 games as a pro he made 52.6%. In the month of February 2015 he’s converted 31 of his 41 free-throw attempts, good for 75.6%.

"(His improvement) is huge, and it has come with a year’s worth of work. If you look his shot now compared to when he came from Kentucky back when, it’s just not even close, and I credit him. Even when he misses, you see him, he looks so confident stepping to the line and receiving a ball from a referee. He’s got his routine, he’s got his whole system in place, and he steps up with tremendous confidence… And then to see a little bit of carryover that we thought was going to happen to his 18-foot shot, with his form and his confidence, we’re seeing the early days, the early stages of him growing his game. And it’s going to help him compliment Joel Embiid, and it’s going to help him in general.” – Brett Brown"

He’s learning to play with the big boys, and he’s succeeding.