Is Nerlens Noel Overconfident, Or Just Plain Good?
Nerlens Noel, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, is the best young defensive player in the league. His 1.9 blocks per game last year demonstrated this, and in lots of scenarios where driving to the hoop would be okay with just about any other NBA player in the key, players hesitated, because they knew how good he was at getting clean blocks on the ball.
In other cases, players drove through the lane anyway, only to find themselves embarrassed. James Harden got a pretty good taste of this last season. The lesson is don’t mess with Nerlens.
This offseason though, we discovered that maybe Noel was a little bit high on himself (or just learning his way through photoshop, and sharing his new skill with the world).
Here’s one of the masterpieces he put out for the public to see, on Labor day.
Now, as the regular season nears, some are asking about cuts that the Sixers will make, and surprisingly Noel’s name has been brought up. In Thursday’s practice before Friday’s game against the Boston Celtics, it was brought up to Noel, and he called the idea that he has missed too much preseason time “ignorant.”
It got a little bit cockier as the conversation continued, and Noel basically said he would be extremely surprised if he was cut from the team.
Don’t get me wrong, I think (in fact, I almost could say that I know) Noel will make this team. The Sixers would be crazy to cut him or Jahlil Okafor, despite the time that they have missed due to injuries this offseason. But maybe Noel’s head is getting a little too large.
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There’s nothing wrong with confidence. But I feel as if he’s getting more and more confident every day, and teetering on the edge of prideful. The saying goes, “pride comes before the fall.”
Noel had a great season last year. To see him get a big head and get too high on himself, and find himself struggling throughout the year would be tough to watch. I would just advise Noel to stay humble, while at the same time confident in himself.
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