PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nerlens Noel was the potential number one overall selection in the 2013 NBA draft, until he tore his ACL playing for Kentucky about two months before the draft. The Sixers took a chance on the 6’11” center, acquiring Noel for a trade on draft day a year ago. Noel missed the entire 2013-14 campaign with the Sixers and fans are clamoring to see what Noel can do on the court.
“I think our anticipation is that he’s going to be a beast around the rim and that he’s going to be really active on the glass, and he’s going to run the floor and be a solid finisher and everything else is gravy,” Sixers GM Sam Hinkie said Wednesday on the 94WIP Afternoon Show with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis. “If he can make a 12-footer great. If he can make a 16-footer great. If he can make free-throws great, but we don’t even need that for him to be a useful player for us.”
Listen: Sam Hinkie on 94WIP Afternoons
Noel will make his Sixers debut on Saturday in the Orlando Pro Summer League.
“I think he’ll be a really strong rim finisher,” Hinkie said of Noel. “We’re hopeful he’ll shoot well from the free-throw line, we’ve worked a lot on his shot. There’s been a lot of talk about that. If he shoot even 60-percent from the free-throw line, he’ll be wildly helpful because I think it will give teams pause about just sort of an automatic foul on him when he catches the ball as a roller.”
Hinkie also talked about the Sixers’ plan to methodically build a championship caliber team, saying he understands it may be frustrating for some fans.
“I think you have to be open to it and you have to try to consider that [the fans may be impatient] as well, but we also try to keep our eye on the ball what’s most important,” Hinkie explained. “Our fans want a winner and they want us to build a team that can really play deep into May and into June. That’s what is most important.”
Hinkie says the Sixers have been honest about their organizational strategy from the get-go.
“We’ve been really open all along from the moment I got here about the kind of path that may prove necessary and that we have to try to make the best decisions we could along the way,” Hinkie said. “That’s been true now and I think it has been true then. I think our fans don’t want us to take any shortcuts. I think they’re excited for us to be a contender again. I think they’re excited for us to be able to build something that has a chance to be lasting, and I think they understand that certainly doesn’t happen overnight.”
Gargano imagined a lineup of Michael Carter-Williams (6’6″), a sharp shooting two-guard, Dario Saric (6’10”), Joel Embiid (7’0″), and Nerlens Noel (6’11”) one day down the road.
“If that all comes together and if that in fact ends up being our lineup, we should be really long at several positions,” said Hinkie.
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