The Sixers are in the business of creating an all-around basketball player. They knew they were getting an athletic forward with strong defensive abilities when they traded for Nerlens Noel at the 2013 NBA Draft. Brett Brown and his coaching staff spent much of the season breaking down and rebuilding Noel's shot to try and add an offensive side to his game.
That takes care of the on-the-court side of Noel's game.
As for the off-the-court side, the Sixers are taking care of that as well. They didn't have to worry about any off-the-court issues but who knows how the 19-year-old will react when the pressures from the media and fans start to get at him. NJ.com's Eliot Shorr-Parks reports the Sixers used Kevin Durant's MVP acceptance speech as an example of how to be a professional with the media.
This situation reminds me a lot of the situation with Blake Griffin and the Clippers when he was drafted. Griffin sat out the 2009-10 season after knee surgery but still traveled with the team and adjusted to life in the NBA.
Noel was acquired, along with a 2014 first round pick, from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for All Star point guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd overall selection (PG Pierre Jackson, Baylor). Noel, 19, was widely considered to be the best prospect in the draft. He is already a plus defender with superior athleticism on the defensive end and extraordinary shot blocking ability (106 blocks last year as a freshman).
Noel is a tremendous prospect and many around the league still believe that. ESPN's Chad Ford would have Noel in the top five if he were in the 2014 draft behind Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Dante Exum. One thing Noel has on the other prospects is a full year to adapt to life in the NBA.
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