Carter-Williams, Noel and Embiid dream big

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The 76ers' Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

Dressed in their white 76ers uniforms, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Michael Carter-Williams trotted to the podium for their individual news conferences one after the other.

The Sixers' version of the Big Three has taken center stage in Philadelphia.

"I imagine me and Joel on the block," Noel said Monday at the team's media day. "Mike just using his length to get to the rim, finding me or Joel. . . . It's really going to be an easy thing for Mike to get to the basket and really create.

"And defensively, that's really going to be something special."

An optimistic future might be one of the few things Sixers fans can look forward to.

For now, Carter-Williams must deal with the pressure of becoming the face of the franchise when he returns from rehabbing his right shoulder. Noel will be baptized into the grind of the NBA while moving from center to power forward. And Embiid will likely miss the entire season after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot.

Like their teammates, the trio also must deal with what is expected to be a dreadful season.

They'll begin training camp Tuesday at Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township, N.J., with only three players with at least six seasons of experience. One of those players - Keith Bogans - was not present Monday. And the Sixers aren't sure if they'll keep him on the roster.

However, Carter-Williams said the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter than last season when the Sixers went 19-63.

"This year, we kind of have a core group," said the second-year point guard, who'll miss the start of training camp. Last season's rookie of the year had surgery May 6 to repair the labrum in his shoulder.

"I try not to think about too far in the future," Carter-Williams said. "I try to focus on the task at hand, which is this coming year . . .

"And you know, no matter what we go through, we are going to stick together and just try to prove people wrong."

Noel wants to prove he can stand out despite his slender frame (6-foot-11, 217 pounds). His individual goals are to become this season's rookie of the year and the defensive player of the year. He also wants to score some.

"It's something that I have been working on with my mentality," Noel said, "and making sure I do keep the confidence and know that I can score at any time."

Noel missed last season while rehabbing his left knee.

"He talked to me about it," said Embiid, who hurt his foot last season at Kansas. "He told me that it sucks, but you've got to get through [sitting out during rehab]. It's all about the future. You've just got to focus on that."

Embiid said he plans to lay off Twitter in the near future.

He garnered a lot of attention by asking LeBron James to join the Sixers on Twitter. He also tweeted date requests to Kim Kardashian and Rihanna.

"I don't think I say something bad or do something wrong," he said. ". . . But when I start doing my rehab, that's something that will stop. I do it because I don't have anything to do."

Carter-Williams said his shoulder feels great. He added that he has been shooting for 21/2 to three months.

The 6-6, 196-pounder is looking forward to being the team's leader once he returns. Carter-Williams is the team's lone returning opening-day starter.

 

The roster

Former St. Joe's standout Ronald Roberts and Chris Johnson are among the 20 players on the Sixers training-camp roster. The team claimed Johnson, a former Boston Celtic, off waivers on Sunday.

 


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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