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Nerlens Noel targets April 4 for NBA debut against Celtics

Mar 9, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

Sam Hinkie, Nerlens Noel AP

Nerlens Noel has yet to play an NBA game this season, after being selected sixth overall in last summer’s draft by the Pelicans and then being traded to the Sixers in exchange for Jrue Holiday.

Philadelphia is the team most associated with tanking this season (i.e., willingly losing games due to lack of personnel), and not rushing Noel back to action, at least initially, was viewed as being part of the team’s strategy.

But Noel is getting closer. And with the Sixers near the bottom of the league-wide standings, there’s no reason to hold him out if he’s truly ready to play, as he could gain some valuable real-world experience over the final few weeks of the regular season.

That was sent from Noel’s Twitter account, and while there’s nothing concrete in place, it’s a goal that he’s shooting for, if nothing else.

From Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Nerlens Noel would like to make his 76ers debut in his hometown of Boston on April 4, according to sources.  They confirmed that’s why the rookie center tweeted “4-4-14”  in reference to April 4, 2014 on Sunday afternoon.

The Sixers (15-47) play at TD Bank that evening against the Boston Celtics.

The sources said this is just a wish that he had not disclosed to the Sixers as of Sunday afternoon.

This appears to be a target date for Noel more than anything, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown recently stated he has no idea whether or not Noel will take the floor for his team this season.

But that’s not likely to be the case. Brown is being cautious where his highly-valued rookie is concerned, though if he’s truly ready to play for the last couple of weeks of the season, there’s no reason not to begin to get him acclimated to the NBA experience.

  1. tcclark - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    Brett Brown just said the other day something along the lines that he’s no where near ready to play. I don’t think that translates to “less than a month away.” I would still put money on him not playing this year.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 11, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      He played 4-on-4 Tuesday.

      • tcclark - Mar 11, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        Awesome, I hope I’m wrong. Thad Young’s assessment of him was good and seemed honest and genuine. This team needs one more win before the end of the year even if it’s just him coming back for a game. They need to end the year with something positive. I’m just not going to get my hopes up. Last time I did that a guy got hurt bowling.

  2. campcouch - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Sixers might as well let him finish out the year on IR.

  3. ravenswhat - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:28 AM

    Are we sure he wasn’t just listing the amount of calories he has for breakfast, lunch, dinner?

  4. jayzus - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I think he is just exited for the Captain America movie Winter Soldier

  5. sixerstrong - Mar 10, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Come on. I understand that he’s from Boston, but you’re really going to make your NBA debut at an AWAY game? That’s not very cool, and is a definite snub for all of the Sixers fans still paying actual money to see this team. Sadly, I am one of them.

  6. ranfan12 - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Wow, I forgot he even got drafted with an injury. Media hyped him up for 1st pick and he looked so hurt when he didn’t get picked.

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