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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nerlens Noel introduced, and what we learned about Royce White, Sam Hinkie and the Sixers’ coach search


The 76ers are quite fond of this Nerlens Noel guy, enough so to give him as much time as possible to rehab that surgically repaired left knee of his.

Sam Hinkie likes him enough to escort him to an appointment Wednesday with an orthopaedic surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania, to visit Noel while he rehabs in Birmingham, Ala., to “give him all the resources necessary and all of the best medical people we can put in front of him.”

Noel can be a difference-maker for the Sixers, who introduced the 19-year-old center Tuesday in a press conference at PCOM. For now the 6-10 center is a project, being that he won’t be able to debut for the team until after New Year’s Day, perhaps at the earliest (though no one was willing to establish a timetable for Noel’s return to competitive play.)

Having seen what the Sixers went through last season with Andrew Bynum, who sat out last season with a bevy of knee injuries, Noel said he wants to do everything in his power to play next season as well as win over Philly fans.

“There’s always been a lot of pressure,” he said. “You’ve got to seize the moment. If you want to be a great player, you’ve got to be able to play under pressure. I think I will do good with this pressure of being the sixth pick in the draft. With time to develop myself and my game, I think I’ll be a very good player.”

A few more tidbits from Tuesday’s press conference:

  • On the coach search. Hinkie, no surprise, does not feel any pressure to take as much time as possible to find the Sixers’ next coach. He wouldn’t confirm reports that they’ve narrowed the field to two candidates, nor would he say who he’s interviewed.
  • On Royce White. Hinkie said he has “no plan at this time” for the integration of Royce White into the Sixers’ system. White, a No. 16 selection by Houston in the 2012 draft, did not play for the Rockets last season while battling anxiety issues. The Sixers acquired him this offseason. “Royce and I have talked about it a bit and it’s the kind of thing we’ll talk about more when he comes,” Hinkie said.
  • On Jrue Holiday. When Hinkie spoke of the draft-day trade for Noel, you got the sense that the GM was torn a bit in having to send Holiday, the All-Star point guard, to New Orleans as part of the deal. But netting Noel and a potential lottery pick wasn’t such a bad return, he said. “To lose (Holiday) is not easy,” Hinkie said, “but we’re happy to have (Noel).”

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