Noel: “I Don’t Think the Roster is Changed”
Nerlens Noel participated in most of practice of the Sixers practice on Thursday, giving the illusion that he might be inching closer to a return to the team, but he sure didn't sound like a guy that was excited to make his season debut anytime soon.
The situation seems no different then when the Sixers were at Stockton and before Noel had surgery to repair his left knee.
"I don't think the roster is changed," Noel told reporters after practice on Thursday.
The Sixers still have a log-jam in the front court with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric and now Ersan Ilyasova all gaining minutes and its something Sixers coach Brett Brown understands.
“Everybody understands that’s a little bit awkward," Brown said after practice Thursday. "Everybody understands that there is some level of a logjam at a position. We all get it, we all talk freely about it. So there’s no elephant in the room as it relates to any of that type of stuff."
The Sixers haven't made a move at this time, wanting to see how all the pieces fit, specifically where Noel fits before they pull the trigger or a trade.
I discussed the triangle of big-men with Chris Mannix of The Vertical who said:
"I don't think long-term it's going to be successful. I think one of those guys (Okafor or Noel) has got to go, and don't be surprised if you see the Sixers really try to prop up the statistics of Okafor or Noel, play them big minutes and really showcase them for a potential trade."
One thing is for sure, the minutes look like they are going to be hard to come by, and even Brett Brown seems unsure of where Noel fits in once he is ready to return. However, Brown has stressed the playing time will be earned and the best guys will play.
While there is no timetable for Noel's return, so far he's only been going through 1-on-1 and 1-on-none drills, he seemed to think he was getting closer.
“I think I'm getting pretty close,” Noel said.