Nerlens Noel was headed straight to being the first-overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft while at Kentucky. Then he tore his ACL. Many people still projected him to be the top pick of the class, but when draft day came his name wasn’t called first. Or second. Or third. Noel’s name was finally called at the sixth-overall pick, going to the New Orleans Pelicans.
However, the Pelicans soon dealt him to the Philadelphia 76ers in a big deal involving several picks and sending Jrue Holiday to New Orleans. As the 76ers set into motion their plan to rebuild from the ground up, they made the young center the apparent centerpiece moving forward.
As he’s recovered from the ACL-tear, though, Noel still hasn’t touched the floor for the lowly 76ers. After the Trade Deadline when Philadelphia went into unabashed, full-fledged tank-mode by trading Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, many wondered whether or not the rookie center would play at all this season.
We seem to have an answer, though. On Sunday afternoon, Noel sent out this tweet:
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) March 9, 2014
April 4, 2014 is 25 days away and is the day that we will most likely see the debut of the young man with the glorious flat-top put on a 76ers uniform for the first time.
Though it’d be great to see a full month rather than a couple weeks from Noel, the timing in regards to the plight of the franchise this season is impeccable. They’ll get the chance to throw Noel into the fire and see what the lanky, athletic big man is capable of, they’ll get the chance to give their fans something to be excited about in what is possibly going to be a winless finish to the season, but they also won’t fully jeopardize their tanking effort.
Considering the way the Sixers have looked over their recent 16-game losing streak, Noel’s debut may not be the prettiest thing we’ve ever seen. However, it’s hard to deny that the basketball world and city of Philadelphia will be buzzing when April 4 rolls around.