In an interview with WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis on Thursday afternoon, 76ers GM Sam Hinkie stated that he expects last year’s prized lottery pick, Nerlens Noel, to make his NBA debut in the upcoming summer league.
“Nerlens feels fine,” Hinkie stated in response to a question about the center’s status.
“He was practicing with the team the last couple of weeks without restrictions. I expect that he will make a debut this summer in summer league.”
That statement is great news for Sixer fans who have been anxious to see their new center out on the court, after missing the entirety of the 2013-14 NBA season to recover from knee surgery.
Noel was drafted sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2013 NBA Draft, but was traded to the Sixers, along with a top-5 protected first round pick in the upcoming 2014 Draft, for Jrue Holiday.
Noel’s year off from action last season represented the second straight season that a big-time offseason acquisition failed to play a single second for the Sixers. Andrew Bynum missed the entire 2012-13 season for the Sixers while recovering from multiple ailments.
Once activated, Noel will be added to a young, up-and-coming Sixers roster that will feature the 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, and two lottery picks from the loaded 2014 Draft.
Noel’s return represents yet another thing for the Sixers, and fans, to be excited about this summer.