Nerlens Noel sat out all of last season after he was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Pelicans, and then traded to the Sixers that very same night.
Noel was projected to go as high as number one overall, before injury concerns set in and teams feared that he wouldn’t be able to contribute during his rookie season — much like Joel Embiid, who Philadelphia similarly selected this year.
But taking the long view seems to have paid off for the Sixers, if Noel’s Summer League debut is any indication. The big man showcased a variety of skills on both ends of the floor, and finished with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting, to go along with two rebounds, three assists, four steals and a blocked shot in a little more than 26 minutes of action. He also converted all seven of his attempts from the free throw line.
Noel has been 100 percent for months now, so his strong showing shouldn’t come as a total surprise. He’s still raw in many areas, but showed a nice touch on his shot, an ability to get out in transition, strong footwork and a good defensive instinct around the basket.