In his unofficial pro debut, Nerlens Noel started off his professional career for the Philadelphia 76ers on the right note with a solid game against the Orlando Magic in the Orlando Summer League. Despite the Sixers loss, Noel still gave Philly fans watching a reason to believe that he was the worth wait, considering he did not play last year. Right out of the gate on the Sixers' first possession after winning the tip, Noel faked out Dewayne Dedmon in the post, and finished with a one handed slam dunk.
Sixers fans were eager to see if Noel would favor his right knee while also looking at how his offensive game was developing. Besides the opening dunk, Noel also showcased a variety of offensive moves and had a circus finish while he was being fouled to obtain a three-point play. In addition, he was active on the defensive end which is his strong suit, as he grabbed four steals while blocking one shot.
Along with his sharp defensive play was his shooting, both from the field and the costless throw line. Noel scored 19 points while shooting 6 of 11 (55%) from the field, connecting on 100% of his costless throws, going 7 of 7 from the charity strip.
Although most of Noel's game showed positive signs, he did only snag two rebounds, committed five personal fouls, and added four turnovers to his stat line as well. All in all, Nerlens Noel had an excellent debut despite some inconsistent statistics. He moved well in the post and showed no signs of his knee injury affecting his play. It will be interesting to see how Noel fares in the Sixers next summer league game tomorrow against the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he will be battling the physical Steven Adams down low.
But Philadelphia fans have to be excited about Noel's return to the hardwood, and first appearance in a Sixers uniform.