Nerlens Noel might not play at all this season, and Sixers coach Brett Brown doesn’t think that would be the worst thing.
Brown has been brutally honest in his assessment of the No. 6 overall pick’s offensive skills, telling reporters on Tuesday that Noel needs a “total rebuild” of his shooting form for him to consistently make baskets in the NBA. The first-year head coach has been as supportive yet blunt as possible, an approach befitting a former Gregg Popovich assistant.
“You bucket him up into, ‘Is it a total rebuild?’ and I think Nerlens is a total rebuild,” Brown told Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times. “You do stuff with Evan [Turner]’s footwork, which we’ve done. You do stuff with release points and exaggerate follow-throughs with Tony Wroten, because everything is a hot stove. Everything is tweakable. I think Nerlens is a total rebuild.”
Noel is not playing in games or practicing with the Sixers, but he has been taking part in post-practice activities with assistant coach Greg Foster. While playing a game of H-O-R-S-E, Noel attempted a one-handed baby hook from about eight feet out — and missed everything.
“We’re really trying to go back to a lot of one-handed shooting,” Brown said. “I can sense he is shooting with two hands behind my back. What happens is, the off hand comes in and the elbows start coming out. When he goes one-handed, he gets the elbow under it and he gets a good-looking shot. He can’t get his guide hand on the ball. It just sends it all over the place.”
One thing is for sure: Noel will have plenty of time to work on his shot. It’s about all he can do for now.