There have been no shortages of distractions throughout Nerlens Noel‘s basketball career and that’s not about to change during the 2017/18 campaign. As Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post writes, the Mavs center will approach this season with his unrestricted free agency looming.
Still just 23 years old, Noel has already dealt with injuries, trade rumors and free agency speculation across stops with Kentucky, the Sixers and now the Mavs. This year he’ll look to earn a substantial offseason payday despite starting the season as Dallas’ backup center.
With Dirk Nowitzki slotted ahead of him at the five, Noel will be utilized off the bench as an athletic post defender with the ability to check guards on the perimeter. The Mavs will also look to employ his ability to crash the net in pick-and-roll situations, with a keen eye on how the young center might fit with the franchise long-term, in the post-Nowitzki era.
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- The addition of Mario Chalmers gives the Grizzlies the option to be more selective with who they incorporate into their rotaiton between Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin. Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal speculates that the club could continue to develop Baldwin and, reluctantly, waive Harrison.
- The Mavs only have 12 players currently on guaranteed deals. It turns out, Gian Clavell could be one of their seven players on non-guaranteed deals to convince the team to keep him on for the full year. Earl Sneed of Mavs.com tweets that the guard has made a strong case for making the squad.
- Utility man Dante Cunningham is capable of playing multiple positions, doing dirty work and doing it all with a smile. That flexibility is what endeared him to Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, who will trot him out as the team’s starting small forward in 2017/18, Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate writes.