He may have misfired by just over three months for his return date to the game of basketball, but all signs point to Nerlens Noel finally donning a 76ers uniform in a competitive capacity this Summer. Noel, one of two first round picks by the team in the 2013 Draft, reportedly told the Boston Globe that he no longer has anything in his way from stepping on an NBA court.
“I’ve been 100 percent for months now, I feel great and continue to get stronger in all parts of my body, just continuing my growth really. I will be playing in summer games and summer league…“It’s beyond words [to play], it’s been a long time coming, I feel I’m definitely ready and focused. The whole offseason, I’ve focused on being stronger and working on my skill points, working on my shot, which I have progressed a lot with, working on my technique. Every part of my game I feel I’ve definitely improved on.”
Noel, who has not played since tearing his ACL while still at Kentucky in February of 2013, is being looked upon as one of the main cornerstones of the 76ers franchise. Alongside reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams and the team’s upcoming pair of lottery picks, Philadelphia is expected to field one of the more exciting young lineups in the NBA in the near future.
Despite missing all of the 2013-2014 season, Noel went through a highly publicized rehabilitation process over the course of the year. In addition to strengthening his surgically repaired knee, Noel worked extensively with head coach Brett Brown on the aspects of his game that needed refining before he could excel at the next level. 76ers fans will finally get an opportunity to see the fruits of all of Noel and the organization’s labor at the start of the Orlando Summer League. The exhibition schedule runs from July 6th to July 11th and is an opportunity for young players to acclimate to aspects of the NBA game that were not as prevalent at the college or international level. Judging by the young talent expected to be on their roster, the 76ers might field one of the more competitive squads in the field. For Nerlens Noel, one can only imagine the excitement the young man will feel when he finally is able to walk onto an NBA court and play at the level he worked so hard to strive towards.