Brett Brown says that this year on the sidelines has still provided benefits for Nerlens Noel as he recovers from his ACL surgery that took place in March of 2013. He suffered his injury on Feb. 12 of that year while playing for the University of Kentucky.
The 76ers coach says Noel has improved in so many areas, especially getting stronger, which he will have to do to in order to defend NBA centers.
“He is going to take his shirt off in the summer leagues and the people from Kentucky are going to say, ‘wow’ because his body has changed,” Brown said. “The work he has put in the weight room is visual.”
The 6-foot-11 Noel says he has improved his vertical leap by three inches. He has also worked diligently on his shooting, which was and still is considered the weakest part of his game. Brown has been his main tutor with hour after hour of instruction. The Sixers coach says that even when Noel returns to the court, his shooting will remain an ongoing work in progress.
“You are not going to blink and it is done,” Brown said. “It is a three to five year plan.”
Brown says he hopes that Noel can be a 60 percent foul shooter next year and eventually get to between 70 and 75 percent. He says a confident free throw shooter impacts all part of a player’s game, especially for a frontcourt player.
“You want to go dunk and you want to go finish and you are not afraid of being fouled and you want to be on the line,” Brown said. “You want to put him in the game in the last three minutes of a close game.”
So Brown will continue his sessions with Noel and remain excited about his potential.
“How many opportunities do you have like this when you have a whole year where you can invest time with somebody?” Brown said. “I think it is a huge part of his development and I am thrilled he is with me and I am glad I am the guy who has the chance to help him.”