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

Monday, March 17, 2014

Indiana's Hibbert: Sixers' rebuild won't really begin until Nerlens Noel can play


Indiana’s Roy Hibbert doesn’t think the 76ers’ rebuild will begin until Nerlens Noel takes the floor.

The rookie center, Noel has not played this season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. While Sixers coach Brett Brown often extols the positives of Noel’s season, which has included traveling with his teammates and being a visible member of the team for practices and shootarounds, Hibbert said Noel will have be present in the games for the Sixers’ rebuild to take hold.

“Something’s off,” Hibbert said last week, when the Pacers were in town to face the Sixers. “They have the pieces once Nerlens is back. Michael Carter-Williams is a terrific player. Thaddeus Young has been terrific for years. They’ll be set up for the future once they get their core guys on the court and build chemistry, and go through it.”

Hibbert referenced a game this season as an example of such chemistry. He and the Pacers trailed New Orleans by as many as 16 points in the second half, and were down by five with less than two minutes to play in an Oct. 31 game. Indiana rallied to beat the Pelicans, 95-90.

“With this team, in our second game of the season, down (16) at New Orleans on the road, we fought back,” Hibbert said. “Those are the types of things (the Sixers) are going to have to experience. Once they get those core guys together, they might lose that game but it’s an experience they need to get. They have to try to rally amongst each other and fight through that and build a bond through that. They don’t have that right now, only because they don’t have everybody out there right now.”

The Sixers (15-51) visit the Pacers tonight, looking to snap a franchise-record-tying 20-game losing streak.

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