Reports came out that first year head coach Brett Brown said Monday rookie Nerlens Noel is going to be missing the 2013-14 season. “I doubt, everybody doubts that he’s going to play this year,” Brown said before the Philadelphia 76ers played the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. “We don’t want to waste this year. I think from a skill perspective, it’s an opportunity for us to break down his shot, really work on his free throws and start a little bit from ground zero”.
Wait, WHAT ?! According to initial reports, the timetable for Noel’s recovery was set for six to eight months, which was expected to allow him to return around Christmas time. Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, told ESPN in June that Noel was ‘ahead of schedule’. “We’re really happy with his progress,” Andrews said at the time. “He’s several weeks ahead of schedule on his rehab. He’s improving on a weekly basis. He has a completely stable knee.” So again, WHAT ?!
I’m really perplexed by this situation. We all know the Sixers are in total rebuilding mode and Evan Turner cannot carry the load for this team the entire season, but shutting him down really sounds like a cry for Andrew Wiggins (freshman out of Kansas University). It’s almost borderline pathetic the fact that Sixers are throwing in the towel as the preseason is starting.
This team has a rookie head coach with one of the youngest teams and is dumping salary like no other. Even if their thought is to “tank” this season in hopes to get a lottery pick, the odds are truly not in their favor. This year, however, is one of the deepest drafts with players such as Jabari Parker (Duke University) and Andrew Harrison (University of Kentucky) supposedly being all “one-and-done” and enter the NBA Draft. I truly believe that even though the thought that the Sixers are shelving Noel for “tanking” reasons is legitimate, this is not the right way to conduct business. Fans come out to your games to see their team win, not tank for the future. Especially in a city like Philadelphia where fans are quite vocal about their local teams (remember they booed Santa). The front office for the Sixers will for sure hear about this from the local media and fans alike. If the player is healthy, let him play and see what he can do! I think that if you’re going to look towards the future, you have to at least let Noel get some team chemistry. Then you go into the draft and come next season, whomever their rookie selection is, there will already be an established young core for this Sixers team to try and challenge for a future playoff berth.
Since the days of “practice” and Allen Iverson, this team hasn’t done anything. They have tread water, changed their logo back (in order to boost merchandise sales) and haven’t come up with anything to really show for it. This just looks like a sign of bad faith on the organization’s part, and I think that this can’t really lead to anything good until at the earliest October 2014.
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