The gift and curse of first-year players is that their evolution is fluid. We’ve only hopeful ideas of what rookies will eventually become, and giving them the chance to do so always means growing pains. But it often means pleasant surprises, too, like when Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel leads the break and throws a lefty lob to Jakarr Sampson for a dunk.
Easy. Shockingly so, in fact.
Was Noel projected to have to a floor-game coming out of Kentucky? Absolutely not. Are plays like this a sign that he’s developing one? Sure. But just as likely is that the 6-11 defensive maven will settle into an offensive role befitting traditional big men once the Sixers develop into contenders.
Philly coach Brett Brown encourages his youngsters to explore their games and stretch their limits in hopes they find and develop something new. If the Sixers had more to play for this season than pride, though, you can bet Noel would simply set ball-screens and take an occasional wide open jumper – not embrace the inner- point guard all interior players possess.
But this was certainly fun nonetheless. The Minnesota Timberwolves lead Philly 40-39 midway through the second quarter of an energetic, free-flowing affair.
What do you think?
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