A Belated Noel is the Perfect Gift
Nerlens Noel has been cleared by sports operating God (and amazingly Redskins team doctor) James Andrews to return to more physical basketball activities! Noel, who tore his ACL nearly a year ago while playing at Kentucky, is considered the best prospect of last year’s draft and could help the Sixers in possibly four to six weeks.
Despite Noel’s clearance by Andrews, there’s a very real possibility that he won’t play this season anyway. The idea of course being that there’s no reason to risk further injury in a lost year.
Screw that. I want to see him play if he’s healthy enough. If he’s cleared by Dr. James Andrews, a guy who clears EVERYBODY to play their respective sports then let Noel play if he trusts his knee. I don’t care if we have to wait til late March or even the few final weeks of the season in April as long as we get a glimpse of what he can do.
It’s selfish, sure. This team is a dud and adding a potential defensive dynamo to the court is an exciting prospect to make meaningless games more interesting. Of course I want to see that. Hell, everyone wants to see that.
But if he’s ready and mentally comfortable with his knee then getting him a glimpse of NBA action will also make Noel more prepared for what will be his true rookie year.
Say he were to come back mid-March, Noel would get some time against DeMarcus Cousins, Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard, and Marc Gasol. That’s a run of most of the top centers in the game, which would be a great way to evaluate Noel’s ability on both sides of the ball.
For example, Noel’s offensive game is his biggest weakness and he’s been working hard on a adding jump hook. I’d love to get a peek of that in action considering the progress they’ve made with developing Michael Carter-Williams.
What do you think? Do you want to keep Noel stashed for the year?