Nerlens no more
Just in case anyone was worried that a healthy, mid-season return by 6th overall pick Nerlens Noel would galvanize a Sixers roster full of chaff into a team capable of winning actual basketball games and thus sabotaging our A-1 Abrams of a season, don’t. (after all, that run-on sentence was far more concerning)
Head coach Brett Brown revealed that our prized rookie will likely be held out the entire season to
ensure optimum losses in both games and attendance fully recover from a torn ACL suffered last February.
Here’s Brown’s quote courtesy of ESPN NBA Rumor Central:
So there ya have it, something else to look forward to in the oh-so-distant 2014-2015 campaign. And, yet another reason to avoid CSN every other night between October 30th and April 16th.
Read on for some quick takes on Nerlens and his new timetable…
- As a preemptive Nerlens fan and an avid injury alarmist I want to reassure
myselfeveryone that this announcement has nothing to do with a medical setback for Noel. Now, I know teams are often reluctant to mention if such a setback occurred (See: Bynum, Andrew), but from everything I’ve read this was a routine surgery performed by one of the best and all is well. In fact, several reports came out initially that he was ahead of schedule.
- On the topic of his knee and its recovery its reassuring to not that recently the lasting effects of an ACL tear are minimal and doesn’t increase the likelihood of a recurrence.
- For those looking to see how a torn ACL might effect Noel’s game when he does finally hit the court, check this study from Basketball Prospectus. It’s mostly good news, but best among that: Even immediately upon returning to game action from ACL recovery, player’s defensive stats remain steady.
- This move shouldn’t have anything to do with the Sixers desire to creatively tamper with the notion of professional competitiveness this season. Even if Noel had come back as originally projected sometime in mid-February and proceeded to have a very above average rookie year (for his personal skill-set and talent level) it wouldn’t have moved the needle much with a team this untalented. So, tempting as it may be to pick on, I don’t think we’re sacrificing Noel’s development in order to further sacrifice this team’s win total.
- The decision to shut Noel down appears to be purely developmental and precautionary. Derrick Rose controversially taught us last season, being medically cleared to play doesn’t tell the whole story. Remember guys like Gilbert Arenas and Brandon Roy? Both were rushed back (either by themselves or a questionable run front office), medically cleared, and allowed to do further and irreparable damage to their surgically repaired knees. Granted, neither were returning from something as straightforward as a clean ACL tear, but it brings to mind the bit about an ounce of prevention…
- I’m not yet sure where I stand on using this time to give Noel time to develop. On one hand, while Noel’s offensive game is nascent at best, I’m a strong proponent of player learning on the job. After all, what better practice for playing in games is there than, well, playingin games. While some extra time working on the finer points of hook-shots and free throw form is nice, most players manage those without months of injury-cation. And how many times have we heard pundits and young players alike remark that the biggest adjustment was the “speed of the game”. Guess what, there’s only one way to replicate that….
- On the other hand, if it’s actually his physical development we’re talking about, i’d rather agree. Noel is a freak of nature athletically. But, he’s only 19 and notedly slight of build. Giving him extra time to fill out and add muscle, especially on his lower body, could do well to help not only his game but also his durability. Anything that can get him more resistant to the types of injuries that got us here, is A-OK with me.
- Lastly, if you find yourself getting anxious waiting to see some high-flying flat-top action prior to the 2015 season, I have good news! There’s always Youtube for that: