Nerlens Noel gives the Dallas Mavericks a different look when he's on the floor
NBA.com staff reports
Nerlens Noel was sent to the Mavericks last season to ease the glut of big men in Philly, and it’s interesting to see what has happened to him and his former Philly bigs, whom he’ll see Saturday night. Jahlil Okafor just got pushed further down the bench and was informed Friday that he’s out of the rotation. Joel Embiid is generating big production when given the minutes.
And Noel is starting to warm up, finally, in Dallas. Noel turned down big money last season, then didn’t get any significant offers this summer as a restricted free agent. Yet his gamble on himself might pay off if he improves and the market is favorable in 2019.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at Noel’s situation:
Less than four minutes into the game, it became obvious why the Dallas Mavericks acquired Nerlens Noel in a trade with the 76ers in February. It also became obvious why Noel felt compelled to turn down the Mavs’ four-year, $70 million contract offer. His level of play will tell you he’s worth more than that.
Noel won’t wow you statistically on most nights. But there’s an obvious difference in the Mavs’ level of play when he’s on the floor.
“It’s going to be great to play against those guys that I was real close with — Joel [Embiid], Ben [Simmons], the whole team really,” said Noel, who finished with five points, eight rebounds, and two assists in less than 20 minutes of play Thursday.
The Mavericks were a completely different team when Noel was on the floor Thursday night. They lost, 96-91, to the Grizzlies, but they outscored Memphis by 11 when Noel was in the game.
“I like him a lot,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s extremely active. He’s one of the best rollers to the basket in the game. He can put up big rebounding numbers. He can legitimately protect the rim.