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Sixers coach Brett Brown on whether we’ll see Nerlens Noel play this year: “It really is, ‘Who Knows?'”

Mar 7, 2014, 10:34 PM EDT

Nerlens Noel AP

Nerlens Noel was selected with the sixth overall pick in last summer’s draft, and the Sixers traded Jrue Holiday for him in order to jumpstart their rebuilding process.

But we have yet to see Noel take the floor for Philadelphia this season, in much the same way that Andrew Bynum missed his entire year with the team while attempting to recover from multiple injuries.

The difference with Noel is that the Sixers are intentionally bringing him along slowly. There’s no rush, after all, considering that Philadelphia is the team most accused of tanking this year, despite new NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s protests to the contrary.

We’d still like to get a preliminary look at Noel this season, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in the same set of circumstances. But at least publicly, he continues to view the possibility as a question mark.

From Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times (via HoopsHype):

“He is (doing more). He’s slowly doing a little more physical stuff,” Brown said after Friday’s practice. “He’s slowly doing a little more and you can play him against another body. I highlight the word ‘slowly’ and I highlight the word ‘cautiously,’ but he’s doing it.

“A little bit more. I don’t want to paint the wrong picture. A little bit more, but he’s moving in that direction.” …

“Whether we ever get to see him in a game this year, it really is, ‘Who knows?’” Brown said. “I’ve gone on (the) record to say I wish I could coach him and get some games under our belt with him. But the boxes he has to tick, the ones we’ve always talked about, those have yet to be ticked.”

Brown is one of the more active head coaches in his young players’ development, and can be regularly seeing working out his guys before games — a rarity in the NBA coaching ranks to be sure.Earlier in the year, the tanking conspiracies made sense in terms of not rushing Noel back before he was more than ready. Now, however, with the season completely lost, Brown is simply like the rest of us in that he’d like to see a little bit of what he has in Noel in game situations before the year is finished.
  1. sumkat - Mar 7, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    They are bad enough that I think they could bring him back for 10 games or so at the end of the season. Give him a little taste of the “nba game”, and still probably lose all of them. So I don’t think it will do anything to hurt the overall plan

    But personally, at this point, I’d just have him sit out the year. Make sure he is totally healthy, keep him in the gym and eating to bulk up that frame some, and start fresh next year. I don’t think, even with 2 picks, they expect to be in any sort of running next year. I think it will be the following year, so I don’t see enough upside to bringing him in at this point to drop the idea of being sure he was completely healthy before they went any further with him.

    Two main reasons, 1, I’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to a big mans legs, especially a young big who relies on his athleticism. 2, they are close enough to the Bucks now that every loss counts, lol. I wouldn’t want to chance that he comes back and actually helps them win a few meaningless games.

    Keep losing, hope NO drops a spot or two (but not too far) so you can get the 6-8 pick, and start fresh next year with Noel, MCW and those 2. At this point, the plan is working, why divert for no reason?

  2. JMClarkent - Mar 7, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    This is a bit different than the Bynum situation. NN was legitimately hurt and his rehab makes sense; Bynum was “DNP: Fat and Lazy”.

  3. phanatic2013 - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:28 AM

    I think it would defintly help even if it’s 6 games with limited minutes just too get a feel of the NBA.

  4. ravenswhat - Mar 8, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    That bean pole is going to get humiliated in the trenches.

    • JMClarkent - Mar 8, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      There are no trenches in the NBA anymore – that is part of what I miss about the game.

  5. tfoz5150 - Mar 8, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    You mean like this?

  6. ravenswhat - Mar 8, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    ^^^^yes, he’s really going to do that to 270lb big men in the NBA. Guys that now play ball for a living. Totally like college. Totally!!

  7. blakegblogs - Mar 8, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    The dozers should just let nerlens sit out for the season. That would let him to have a whole summer to recover, and we all know we will see him in the summer circuit pregames.

  8. udkidd - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Let him play for the NBDL and the 87ers. Play him in the home games and boost tickets sales (they could use it). I live 5 minutes from there too!

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