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Nerlens Noel Upset About Playing Time

It didn’t take long for the logjam in Philadelphia’s frontcourt to go south. The 76ers had been largely shielded from their inevitable fate for the first 20 games of the season as 22-year-old Nerlens Noel rehabilitated from a knee injury out of sight and out of mind. Now that the third-year veteran is back and able to play, he has expressed frustration with the conditions to which he’s returned.

Not only is Noel being used less than he had been in his first two seasons (30.8 and 29.3 MPG, respectively), he’s been plugged in the lineup alongside other big men like Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor.

“I just want to play basketball,” Noel told CSN Philly’s Jessica Camerato after playing eight minutes in a loss to the Lakers. “I’m not an eight-minute player so I don’t know what that’s about. […] I need to be on the court playing basketball. I think I’m too good to be playing eight minutes. Like, no, that’s crazy. That’s crazy. That’s crazy. They need to figure this s–t out.”

Throughout the first month and a half of the 2016/17 campaign, Noel’s absence allowed head coach Brett Brown to utilize various combinations of other power forwards and centers without having to balance this final piece. Now that Noel’s back, however, players like Richaun Holmes and Dario Saric, too, have seen their roles adjusted. Holmes saw a DNP-CD Friday, while Saric has been shifted down to small forward.

Displeasure with the club’s new rotation doesn’t seem limited to just Noel, either. Rookie Embiid has voiced his own concerns with the modified rotation. As Philadelphia Magazine’s Derek Bodner tweeted Friday night, Embiid expressed subtle displeasure with the defensive effort of his teammates after the loss and, per Camerato, he wasn’t pleased with his own performance “standing on the perimeter” in Wednesday’s loss to the Raptors either.

The Noel comments serves as the latest example that something appears likely to give in Philadelphia, whether that means the club limits Noel’s playing time in an effort to showcase and eventually trade Okafor, or – more likely – to just deal Noel, as has been rumored for months. Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler speculates that two of the most likely trade partners for Noel would be the Raptors or Wizards.

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11 thoughts on “Nerlens Noel Upset About Playing Time

  1. Is this a joke? Noel has been healthy enough to be active for a whole two games this year yet he’s been complaining about his playing time the entire time.

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    • jim31762

      After playing as much as he did his first two years, I’d be pissed too. How about you?

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      • Reggie Green

        He was complaining before the season even began though.basicly right before training camp.it’s the nba,you have a handful of players who are locked into their roles,and Noel hasn’t done enough to join that group.even with getting minutes,on a team that desperately needed anyone to step up and take a lead,he never did it.as a 6er fan,I wanted him n Embiid to work out,and for Okafor to be the 1 we move.but after his pity party,bye felicia!!

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    • Kia Sportage Off-roader

      lol yeah he just isn’t that good. Maybe the Sixers should publicly complain that he hasn’t lived up to his lottery pick expectations and when he starts to, playing time will follow.

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  2. josborne

    send him to pelicans for asik and a couple of 2nd round draft picks or to phoenix for a.len or t.chandler or b.knight

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    • TheFrenchFreak

      if we trade noel it’s not to get a center back…

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  3. doronbroman

    What a mess Hinkie created. Loading up bigs in the draft without thinking about their development time and while the value of traditional bigs is crashing in the nba

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    • Kia Sportage Off-roader

      Major lack of good bigs in the NBA. Embiid is one of them. Others stink.

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  4. Yankee4Life27

    “I think I’m too good…” ahhh, the new generation…

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  5. PeeWeeHerron618

    Wouldn’t be a problem if his ass would have learned to play PF & develop a jump shot or some handles or hell anything but he still threw same player, he hasn’t gotten better in any aspect of his game.

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  6. Roscoe

    The wizards need to go after Neol. They should be able to get him with second round pick and Trey Burke

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