Noel leads Sixers' fun brigade

ASSOCIATED PRESS Nerlens Noel (left) tangles with Brooklyn's Cory Jefferson to retrieve a rebound during Summer League play in Orlando.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Nerlens Noel (left) tangles with Brooklyn's Cory Jefferson to retrieve a rebound during Summer League play in Orlando.
Posted: July 11, 2014

ORLANDO - Fun. That seems to be the word that best describes this bunch of players who make up the 76ers entrant in the Orlando Pro Summer League.

The team plays with incredible speed, led by diminutive guard Casper Ware, who may be securing himself a spot in the league with his play down here, averaging 19 points and close to five assists a game. They have been able to knock down three-pointers at a 37 percent clip, have blocked shots and possess two of the best leapers in this Summer League, in Nerlens Noel and Ronald Roberts.

All eyes, of course, have been fixed on Noel - and he is the epitome of fun. Though his timing is a bit off on both ends of the floor - understandably so as he hadn't played for about a year and a half - he has averaged 13.7 points, shot 52 percent from the floor, made 15 of his 19 free throws and blocked nine shots. He has battled through fatigue, a tweak of his left ankle and the rustiness that was expected.

"I've definitely felt it," said Noel of the fatigue. "It's natural to feel that way, but I transitioned well and I fought through. I'm doing what I have to for our team, starting with defense. My post moves haven't come around yet. It will come as my mind slows down and the mental aspect comes around and my feel for the game [improves]."

Still, watching Noel rise for a floater in the lane with his head hovering around the rim or coming out of nowhere to reject a shot has fans of the team excited. Throw in the solid play of draft picks K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant, along with the immeasurable spring and hustle of Saint Joseph's product Roberts and the improvement of second-year player Hollis Thompson, and fun is the perfect word.

Hurry up, LeBron

Casper Ware probably isn't sitting on pins and needles waiting for LeBron James to announce which team will be lucky enough to land his talents this time, but there could be a trickle-down effect in which Ware is involved.

Here we go. Let's say James decides to return to Cleveland. That would probably mean that Chris Bosh also would be leaving Miami, perhaps for the Houston Rockets. If the Rockets throw big money at Bosh, then they will be looking to unload some salary, widely reported to include Jeremy Lin. If the Sixers make a deal to take on Lin and his $8.3 million salary-cap hit, and also decide to keep him on the roster, that would give the team another guard to join Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten and Hollis Thompson, along with draft pick Jordan McRae, there just doesn't seem to be room for Ware.

There has been no confirmation that any deal between the Sixers and Rockets has been solidified, but it just goes to show the tsunami that King James could create with his decision.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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