With the way the Philadelphia 76ers‘ season has played out in atrocious fashion, any sliver of optimism is enough. After the initial shock of trading away All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday for the unproven and injured rookie Nerlens Noel faded away, the hype and anticipation of how dominant a healthy Noel can be kicked in.
A tweet sent out by Noel in early March read “4-4-14,” and many ran with the assumption that the highly anticipated debut would be on Apr. 4, 2014. This made since when you consider that the Sixers rookie is a Boston native and his hometown Boston Celtics would be welcoming his current team that night. And of course. the rookie would love to make his debut before the Sixers’ nightmarish season ends, but this makes sense for the Philadelphia organization as well.
If Brett Brown and the Sixers were to let Noel debut against the Celtics tonight, this would allow the rookie to play Boston twice, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat, who will likely rest their starters against the lowly 76ers. This would mean Philadelphia wouldn’t be playing the stiffest competition, and this would be the perfect opportunity to allow Noel to get a feel for the pace of the NBA.
The seven-game stretch Noel would be able to experience would do exactly that, give the rookie some much-needed experience heading into the also much-needed offseason. Earlier in the season, when talks about Noel debuting floated around, much caution was taken with concern for his recently reconstructed knee. With only seven games left, the risk of any further damage to Noel’s knee would be slim-to-none.
As for what this does for Noel himself, the confidence he would gain in his play would be like magic for the 76ers heading into next season. Also, with being able to get some NBA experience, Brown and his notorious player development skills will be able to see where Noel stands on the professional level. It makes sense for both sides here. The Sixers must let Noel debut tonight against Boston.