Norvel Pelle Adds Another Piece to the Sixers Puzzle
The Sixers may have found something with backup center Norvel Pelle
The Sixers had major issues in the playoffs last season anytime Joel Embiid left the floor, especially on the defensive end of the court. The Raptors took to the ball to the basket with ease, with the Sixers lacking a backup rim protector, using Greg Monroe and Amir Johnson in the role of backup center.
Pelle saw the majority of the backup center minutes with Al Horford out for the second straight game with a knee injury. In 12 minutes of play, Pelle scored a career-high six points on 3-4 shooting from the field. He also had a team-leading three blocks. He now has seven blocks through his first career three games
It was Pelle who Sixers coach Brett Brown went with as the backup to Embiid on this night, over veteran Kyle O'Quinn, who played just five minutes.
"I just wanted to see what we have in him," explained Brown postgame when asked why Pelle got the backup center minutes over O'Quinn. "We had a little taste in New York, and I wanted to see more. I thought he was really good. He is a Nerlens Noel-type player to me. He’s a rim protector, a shot-blocker and he’s quick off the floor."
Per Basketball-Reference, Pelle is the fourth 76er ever to block at least seven shots through his first three career games. He joins Embiid (eight), Nerlens Noel (seven) and Shawn Bradley (15) as the only 76ers to do so.
Pretty impressive numbers for a guy who is on a two-way deal with the Sixers. He was also named a member of the 2018-19 NBA G League All-Defensive Team.
I was at the game and took notice of how Pelle doesn't leave his feet on pump fakes, and has great balance at the rim, allowing him to block shots with regularity.
"I told him that if he got the minutes that he would lead the league the blocks," Joel Embiid said after the win. "He has the chance to be a fan favorite, so he should just keep doing whatever he’s doing."
What he is doing is giving the Sixers something they really lacked during last years playoffs - a legitimate rim protector off-the-bench.
"Every game he’s going to bring you energy," Ben Simmons said. "He loves blocking shots. Risking his body for those blocks and protecting the rim. I love having him a part of this team."
Just another piece to the product that the Sixers are trying to build towards bringing a championship to Philadelphia.