USA Today is reporting that Nerlens Noel wants to wear no. 5 with the Philadelphia 76ers in honor of the number of teams that passed on him during the 2013 NBA Draft. This is great news for a team that took a chance on Noel to build their franchise around.
For those who don’t know, many projected Noel to go no. 1 overall in the draft, but concerns about his recovery from a torn ACL caused him to slip all the way to the New Orleans Pelicans at no. 6. New 76ers GM Sam Hinkie then realized he had his chance to get a franchise player while also stocking up draft picks for the future.
Hinkie shipped All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans in exchange for the rights to Noel and a 2014 top-five protected pick. Noel will now get his chance with the 76ers and he is sending a clear message by choosing to wear the no. 5 next season.
Noel is already a defensive specialist, averaging 4.4 blocks in his only season at Kentucky, but his offense does need work. His season was cut short due to the torn ACL but he does have the potential to be an All-Star in this league.
This sort of motivation has worked in the past for another famous player: Gilbert Arenas wore the number zero because he was told he was nothing and would play zero minutes. He went on to be a three time All-Star.
Noel will now also try to prove the haters wrong. By doing this, it shows he is motivated to succeed and hungry to prove himself; which can only be a good thing for Sixers.