The Next Step for Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel had a terrific rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers; he averaged 9.9 points, pulled down 8.1 rebounds and earned a place on the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Known primarily for his defense, he became the third player in Sixers franchise history to record 100 blocks during his rookie year. As an integral piece of the Sixers future, he has the talent to be a star in the city of Philadelphia.
In an article written by James Herbert for CBSSports, Noel shared his goal being an All-Star this season. Well for that to happen, he's going to have to work on a few things and the 76ers are going to have to improve as a group. The first thing is going to be his jump-shot. Noel shot 46 percent from the field last season, which isn’t terrible for a guard, but for a 7-foot big man it needs to be better. His offensive repertoire needs to mature as he enters his first season alongside offensive juggernaut, Jahlil Okafor.
If Noel can develop his mid-range shooting, his scoring average would go up exponentially. With Okafor in the post, Noel can get wide open looks because Okafor will likely be faced with double teams. Noel must get that shot down pact to be effective. This strategy would be similar to the Andrew Bynum – Pau Gasol dynamic during the Los Angeles Lakers championship teams from six seasons ago. Bynum controlled the low post, while Pau Gasol did most of his damage from the midrange area. The result; both were All-Stars. Noel would be a lot more effective on offense if he can develop a consistent mid-range arsenal.
Noel can further improve by keeping minimizing mistakes. He averaged two turnovers and committed three fouls per game last season. Noel couldn't keep control of the ball while in the post as he struggled to find his offense and constantly picked up unnecessary fouls.
Noel is not far away from becoming a NBA All-Star. He has some mistakes to correct and he will have to improve offensively, but he is an absolute defensive force. The 21 year old is entering his second season with a bright future ahead of him. He will need to stay healthy, as he missed the entire season after he was drafted, but if he does he will be a true NBA talent. Expect Noel to make a strong case as an All-Star selection this season.
*Photos courtesy of Getty Images