The Nerlens Noel era has officially begun.
Monday afternoon the Sixers held a press conference introducing Draft day pick-up Nerlens Noel to a throng of media members. While not as spectacular and publicly accessible as the Andrew Bynum presser, the Noel presser was just as exciting, as a new era of Sixer-dom is beginning.
Sporting a glorious flat-top, Noel appeared honest and forthcoming about the trade, his abilities, and his current status as he recovers from a torn acl suffered in February playing for the University of Kentucky. Friend of the blog Spike Eskin recapped the highlights of today's press conference.
Noel on new Sixers General Manager Sam Hinkie
"Sam's just a genius," Noel said on Tuesday, referring to Hinkie's drafting of Michael Carter-Williams, one of Noel's closest friends. "How could you think of something like that? To have two players that played AAU together, already have a great relationship, I mean point guard and big man, you've got to put a lot of thinking into that. I mean, a lot of credit goes to him for building that as a foundation going into the future."
Hinkie on Noel's abilities:
"We are excited and I am excited today to add Nerlens to our team," Hinkie said. "Rim protector is at a real premium in our league right now, a real premium. Athletic players have always been at a premium. Nerlens is both. Nerlens is a guy who brings it on every possession he's on the floor, who is constantly trying to protect the rim as drivers attack. And he's a guy who we think will fit the style of play that we hope to play here in Philadelphia. He's also motivated and hungry to return and this is the part where we have to be reasonable in a whole bunch of ways."
Noel on the current status of his injury recovery:
"I'm at the 4.5 month point. I'm doing very well," Noel said. "I'm in Birmingham Alabama, doing six hours of rehab a day. I'm just being careful with it. Doing it day by day. I'm staying focused on it. When I feel like I'm ready to come back, both physically and mentally, I'll take that step."
"I just started doing layups. I have been able to run up and down the court. Doing squatting. I do the AlterG (anti-gravity treadmill) for cardio."
Hinkie on the importance Noel's long-term health:
"The most important thing, should be the long term health and safety of our players. Nothing else matters as much as that matters. And so as this plays out, we will give him all the resources necessary, and all the best medical people we can put in front of him, both here and in Birmingham where he's been doing his rehab," Hinkie said. "I'll say one thing that might be different. There will be someone on our staff, me, asking the same question all the time. ‘If what we care about most, is Nerlens' long term health, in 15 years, what would we do?' I'll ask that every time."
And lastly, because everyone is curious, Hinkie on the attractiveness of a head coaching gig on a tanking team:
"I've seen very strong interest. In part because they see what we're trying to do. It's fairly obvious what we're trying to do. We're trying to build something. Trying to build something special," Hinkie said.
It's not as catchy as "pressure makes diamonds," but it is hard not to get excited when you see Sam Hinkie talk about building something special.
Some other notable items from the press conference:
- OMG THAT FLAT TOP
- I wish I had my own anti-gravity machine.
- Every time Sam Hinkie speaks about basketball my ears behave like they just heard my favorite song. Every thing he says is always perfect, right on point, and accurate.
- OMG THAT FLAT TOP
- Everything with this team is all about the long-term, building for the long-term, making sure Noel is healthy in the long-term, everything. For a team that was stuck in mediocrity for the longest time, this is so encouraging for the future.
- Hinkie can take as long as he wants in hiring the head coach. It seriously does not matter to me if the head coach is announced now or in two weeks.
- OMG THAT FLAT TOP