By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While Nerlens Noel continues his historic month of March, he managed to take a slight shot at his former Sixers and even AAU teammate, Michael Carter-Williams.
Following the Sixers’ disappointing 113-111 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, Noel chose some interesting words when praising his teammate Ish Smith after the game.
“I love that kid,” Noel (19 points, 14 rebounds) said of Smith (17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) post-game. “He just finds me whenever I’m open and honestly, he’s the first true point-guard I’ve ever really played with. And you know, he said I’m one of the alley-oop men—big men—he’s played with. So I think we compliment each other so well.”
Smith, 26, signed with the Sixers on February 22nd, just a few days after Carter-Williams was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. In the month of March with Smith running the show, Noel is averaging 14.3 PPG, 11.2 REB, 2.1 BLK, and 2.4 STL in 33.1 MPG, as he continues to make a strong case for rookie of the year.
Noel has totaled 243 points, 190 rebounds, 41 steals, and 35 blocks this month, just five blocks short of the 200-160-40-40 club. The last player to tally at least 200 points, 160 boards, 40 steals, and 40 blocks in one month was Hakeem Olajuwon in 1985-86.
Conversely, in 17 games with the Bucks, MCW is averaging 12.8 PPG, 5.4 APG, 3.4 RPG, 3.4 TOPG, and shooting just 38.4-percent from the field. Recently, NBA personnel ranked MCW outside the top-30 point-guards.