Philadelphia 76ers: Norvel Pelle’s new deal brings back the block party

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

After running out of days of NBA eligibility last month, two-way player Norvel Pelle has earned a two-year, partially-guaranteed contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. The block party is back!

When Norvel Pelle‘s NBA days of eligibility ran out, it was a major bummer for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Granted, it’s not like the sub-7-foot-tall center was the team’s, um, ‘centerpiece’, far from it in fact, but for a guy averaging 2.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in a little over 11 minutes of action a night, Pelle’s energy punches well above his weight class.

And in case you haven’t noticed, the Sixers are in desperate need of some positive energy right now.

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So after landing a pair of switch guards at the deadline in on-ball sixth man Alec Burks and switchable slam-dunking specialist Glenn Robinson III, it only made sense to add a high-flying center to complement Ben Simmons when Brett Brown wants to go fast.

But wait, I thought the deadline had already passed for the 76ers to sign Pelle? Well yes, the deadline to sign Pelle for the remainder of the season did pass midway through January, but Elton Brand didn’t do that. Instead, the wily former big man gave Pelle a ‘brand’ new two-year contract that becomes fully guaranteed on July 6th.

What a day.

In related news, the 76ers did have to waive a player to make room for Pelle, with Jonah Bolden becoming the odd-man out of the 15-man rotation. While Bolden did show flashes of being a legit four/five tweener with rotational upside dating all the way back to his time with the Summer League Sixers in 2017, his inconsistent play and pension for picking up foolish personal fouls made earning a role coming off the bench for Brown and company a virtual impossibility.

With two-years left on his rookie-scale deal and intriguing length for his position, don’t be too surprised if some team opts to claim Bolden off of waivers and incorporate him into their late-season roster as a switchable big.

Don’t the Houston Rockets need a player over 6-foot-6? *Sigh* that’s another conversation for another day.

While Pelle is somehow two years older than Bolden and has a less diverse set of skills, he does one thing and one thing really well: Play above the rim. Measuring in at a slight 6-foot-10, 231 pounds, Pelle has hops, deceptive athleticism, and plays center like a free safety in the NFL: Always looking to make plays on the ball.

In 156 minutes of action, Pelle only scored 35 points on 15 made shots on the field, but he did so while getting 51 rebounds and 21 blocks. Just for context, Pelle is averaging a totally unsustainable 6.5 blocks and 15.8 rebounds a game, good for the best, and third-best marks of any player on the 76ers. Pelle will probably never hit either mark based on his current playing time, but still, his ability to impact the game on the fringes is remarkably similar to Matisse Thybulle and could help to steal a few extra positions for the 76ers’ hot-and-cold offense.

Next. Trey Burke never really had a chance. dark

If you haven’t picked up by now, I’m a massive Norvel Pelle fan, I’ve even described myself as the president of the Norvel Pelle block party – I’m a fan. But I’m also realistic. I know full well that a player who averages less than 12 minutes of action a night isn’t going to sway a ton of games when Joel Embiid and Al Horford are hogging up darn near all 48 of the minutes at the five. However, maybe it’s just me, but I’m of the belief that teams get better when they lock up their exciting young players to long-term deals. Makes sense, right?