Philadelphia 76ers’ coach Brett Brown said that rookie Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky will most likely not play this season as he is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered on February 12.
As reported by Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com, Brown revealed the news when a reporter asked about Noel’s progress.
“Slow,” Brown said before the Sixers’ preseason game against Cleveland. “I doubt, I think everybody doubts he is going to play this year. But he is with us in every way in terms of practices and shoot-around, film session. It is a classroom opportunity for him to learn [about] me and the NBA. We don’t want to waste this year.”
Brown feels that Noel’s game will improve over the next year and did offer a bit of hope that Noel could be play, because it is possible and in part because it’s Brown’s gut feeling.
“This has been an opportunity to break down his shot, really work on his free throw and start a little bit from ground zero.”
“It most definitely was not the plan all along, and I think it is a work in progress,” Brown said. “It was a decision I thought was going to be made, but nobody ever said to me that this is a definite. I think everybody is expecting it to be a definite decision, but even now as we speak no one has said that this is 100 percent certainty.”
The Sixers traded Jrue Holiday to New Orleans to get Noel, who was drafted sixth this year. The Sixers also received a protected for five pick in next year’s draft.
Noel played only a single season at Kentucky and averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. The 6′ 10″ forward is only 19 years old and listed at only 228 pounds. He certainly can also add strength and bulk to his frame to become more of a presence inside at the NBA level.