Philadelphia 76ers Draft History: All Big Men

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Mar 12, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) dribbles past Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel was brought in on draft night via a trade, and looked to be a solid big man for years to come. Noel missed his entire would-have been rookie season with an injury, but made his debut in the following year. He had a bit of a slow start, but picked up as the year went along, showing that he was a defensive asset.

Partway through the season, the Sixers acquired Ish Smith, which was another huge thing for Noel, as Ish’s pass-first mentality and ability to set Noel up near the rim allowed Nerlens to succeed. He was suddenly becoming a high-flying center that was good for a fair amount of points per game.

On the other side, Noel was even better. His defense was among the best in the league, as he was averaging nearly 2 blocks per game. His rim defending skills were definitely above-par, and this was keeping opponents from scoring.

Coming into his second season, with Jahlil Okafor getting drafted, Noel was asked to transition to the power forward spot, which did not go over well. Towards the end of this season, it was finally realized by the coaching staff that Noel couldn’t play at the four spot, and he was moved back to his natural center position, where he has since done very well.

Looking forward, Noel may or may not be on this team. Either him or Okafor is likely to be moved, so he could find himself somewhere else, especially if the team decides they value defense over offense. Noel does have a wide-open door for him to make a case for keeping him on the team, since Okafor will be out for the rest of the season.

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