Former University of Kentucky star Nerlens Noel will not be in the Philadelphia 76ers’ rotation unless either Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor get in foul trouble for the foreseeable future.
Sixers Coach Brett Brown said before Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets that he’s making move because he doesn’t think he can effectively play three big men. A fourth center — Richaun Holmes — will also take a hit.
Neither Noel nor Holmes played in the Sixers’ 108-107 win over the Nets. Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds while Okafor had three points and 11 boards.
Brown said the decision has nothing to do with Noel’s voicing his displeasure with only playing 8 minutes, 2 seconds in Friday’s 100-89 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 6-foot-11, 232-pounder missed the first 23 games with a inflamed tissue above his left knee. He played scored eight points in 10 minutes during his season debut against the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 11. He missed the second half of the game and sat out Wednesday’s matchup against the Toronto Raptors with a left ankle sprain.
Noel returned to action Friday against the Lakers and recorded two points, five rebounds and one block while playing all his minutes in the first half.
He voiced his displeasure with that in the locker room.
“I’m not an eight-minute player. So I don’t know what that’s about,” Noel said at the time. “I don’t really care [who he’s paired with]. I need to be on the court playing basketball. I’m too good to be playing eight minutes right now, that’s crazy, that’s crazy, that’s crazy. Need to figure this [stuff] out.”