For the second consecutive year, the Sixers might be without their star center for the entire season. New coach Brett Brown indicated to reporters that rookie big man Nerlens Noel is likely to miss all of his first season in the NBA, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports. While Brown said nothing is set in stone, it appears to be a longshot that Noel will suit up in 2013/14.
Noel, 19, was long expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft after his freshman year at Kentucky. However, a vicious ACL tear in February spelled the end of his season and knocked him down a few pegs on everyone’s draft boards. The Pelicans, already armed with Anthony Davis at the five, drafted Noel and later shipped him and their 2014 first-round pick to Philadelphia for Jrue Holiday and the rights to Pierre Jackson.
Despite playing only half the season, Noel was selected to the Freshman All-America team alongside UNLV’s Anthony Bennett (Cavs), UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad (Timberwolves), Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, and Kansas’ Ben McLemore (Kings).