Morning Shootaround — Oct. 22

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Sixers unlikely to play Noel this season | Westbrook participates in parts of practice | Wade done addressing Durant comments | Rockets PG race still up for grabs

No. 1: Sixers plan to rest Noel all seasonRookie big man Nerlens Noel was acquired by the Sixers in a post-Draft trade and is thought to be the centerpiece of the rebuild going on in Philadelphia. There was hope that Noel might play this season — perhaps as soon as Christmastime — but Sixers fans may want to forget about that. According to Sam Amico of FoxSportsOhio.com and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, coach Brett Brown (who was excellently profiled by our own David Aldridge yesterday) isn’t planning on using Noel at all in 2013-14.

First, from Amico:

Brett Brown cleared up the situation regarding highly touted rookie Nerlens Noel, and fans of the Philadelphia 76ers probably aren’t going to like it.

Brown, in his first season as Sixers coach, said Noel is likely to miss his entire first NBA season as the result of a torn ACL suffered while Noel was a freshman at the University of Kentucky.

Brown dropped the news prior to the Sixers’ preseason game Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the campus of Ohio State University.

“We don’t want to waste this year,” Brown said of the Sixers’ strategy with Noel. “I think, from all perspectives, it’s an opportunity to break down his shot, really work on his free throws, and start a bit from ground zero. He’s bought in and been great.”

Now, Brown said, Noel is likely to be held out for the sake of learning in the film room and from the bench.

“He needs to be nurtured this year.” Brown said. “I think we’ve grabbed the thing and put him on a road map that’s good for him, and good for the program.”

And from Windhorst:

The Philadelphia 76ers are now expecting to hold first-round draft pick Nerlens Noel out for the entire upcoming season as he recovers from knee surgery, coach Brett Brown said Monday.

“I doubt, everybody doubts that he’s going to play this year,” Brown said before the Sixers played the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. “We don’t want to waste this year. I think from a skill perspective, it’s an opportunity for us to break down his shot, really work on his free throws and start a little bit from ground zero.”

It was not originally the Sixers’ plan to sit Noel — the No. 7 overall pick, who had surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee in March — for the entire season. He suffered the injury Feb. 12 while playing for the Kentucky Wildcats.

The timetable for Noel’s recovery was initially set for six to eight months, which was expected to allow him to return sometime in the middle of his rookie season.

Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, told ESPN in June that Noel was ahead of schedule.

“We’re really happy with his progress,” Andrews said at the time. “He’s several weeks ahead of schedule on his rehab. He’s improving on a weekly basis. He has a completely stable knee.”

***

No. 2: Westbrook briefly participates in practice — Earlier this month, the Thunder’s All-Star point guard, Russell Westbrook, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The projection at the time was that Westbrook would need 4-6 weeks to recover, meaning his return to OKC’s lineup wouldn’t be until sometime in December. But Westbrook might be healing up faster than most thought as he participated in parts of Monday’s practice with the team, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

For the first time since training camp started, the Thunder had its full complement of players for at least a portion of Monday’s practice.

Kendrick Perkins, returning from a dislocated left ring finger, was back and is expected to play Tuesday against Phoenix. But the headliner was All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who participated in on-court drills with the team for the first time since he had arthroscopic surgery earlier this month.

“There were bits and pieces where Russell participated in practice, so that was good,” coach Scott Brooks said. “It was good to get everybody out there, working together.”

And even in that brief setting, Reggie Jackson, the man who is replacing Westbrook in the starting lineup, seemed to be impressed.

“Oh, man. Russell today…” Jackson said when asked how Westbrook looked, cracking a sly smile. “It’s actually funny. My brother and his brother talk a little before games. His brother told mine that Russell’s probably bouncing better than ever. I had to see it to believe it. One of the dunks (today), he went up and looked like the old Russell, plus some, head at the rim. We’ll be happy when he gets back fully healthy, but it’s good to see him with a smile on his face, being about the team, bouncing back and happy to be back on the court.”

***

No. 3: D-Wade done talking about Durant — One of the storylines of training camp and the preseason has been the through-the-media tiff between Heat star Dwyane Wade and Thunder star Kevin Durant over whether or not Wade deserves to be listed among the top 10 players in the NBA. The latest wrinkle in the argument came from Durant, who recently told EuroHoops.net that it’s time for Wade to “pass the torch” about being a top 10 player. Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says Wade is done addressing the topic:

Guard Dwyane Wade is done responding to anything Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant has to say about him.

Durant recently said it was time for Wade to “pass the torch” to younger players. When asked about it, Wade declined comment.

“I’m not talking about that,” Wade said.

It was the second issue between the players. Last month Durant said Wade didn’t belong on the list of the NBA’s top 10 players. LeBron James also declined to comment on Durant’s statements.

***

No. 4: Lin, Beverly still in thick of race for starting gig – The Rockets know who their starting center(Dwight Howard), starting shooting guard (James Harden) and starting small forward (Chandler Parsons) will be, but the rest of their starting lineup may be in flux. In the preseason, Houston has started Terrance Jones and Donatas Motiejunas at power forward at times and at point guard, Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverly have gotten starting gigs as well. Coach Kevin McHale tells the Houston Chronicle‘s Jenny Dial Creech that the Beverly-Lin race is still up in the air:

As questions continue to swirl about who the Rockets’ starting point guard is this season, Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley played several minutes together Monday night.

Lin started at point guard and played 33 minutes. Beverley came off the bench and played 26.

“I thought (Lin) did a lot of nice things,” coach Kevin McHale said. “He broke people down; he had eight assists. Between he and (Beverley), they had 13 assists and four turnovers. I liked when they were both in the game.”

Lin finished with six points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals. Beverley had 10 points, five assists and two rebounds. McHale praised both for their defense.

“I thought they were both really solid,” he said. “Any mistakes that they do make are mistakes because they’re trying really hard and getting after it. They stay in place. They use their hands. They’re both diligent guys.”

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Player-turned-broadcaster Luke Walton, who will help on out Lakers games this season, wants to play again in the NBA … Nuggets point guard Nate Robinson, who played defensive back at Washington in college, believes he could have been an elite NFL defensive back … Magic forward Glen Davis says he’s making progress with his foot rehab … Charlotte has proven to be one of the better defensive teams of the preseason

ICYMI Of The Night: It is always fun to watch when Kyrie Irving busts out his Uncle Drew game on NBA types …

59 Comments

  1. OKC says:

    Durant isn’t a defensive player? You really can’t make such broad claims when all you watch is heat games =/. He has as many steals and more blocks a game than Lebron and his team was the 3rd best team defensively last year with him leading the way, btw the heat were 7th in defense. He covers all 5 positions at times (which Lebron thinks he deserves DPOTY for as if he was the only player to do it). When someone gets hot we don’t put thabo on them, we put Durant on them. Watch some OKC games and you will see Durant works his butt off on both ends of the floor.

  2. Durant need to easy about wade talk, D Wade got three rings

  3. Michael McBride says:

    i think durant, wade and even harden are just selling tickets and jerseys with all this. They got that gold together this small talk on nba.com and twitter aint nothing.

  4. v says:

    the rant on the sixers is partially justified as a team; however, i wish talk would start on the management side from the top to the bottom – who the heck picks these coaches? If isn’t a dear friend or former high school coach, its someone straight out ot the office with no background. As they say in football, “C”mon man!” Management more worried about feeding their pockets than the team. There should be a rant in sports on management and coaches!

  5. GVM says:

    D-Wade no merece estar entre lo 10 es decir mejor entre los 5 el es una super estrella en su posición con la edad que tiene es uno de los mejores digan lo que digan

  6. Bulldog 34 says:

    Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, and Wade are all put on a pedestal because of the rings they have won. These guys would be nothing without their supporting players. All these guys including KD, Melo, and Harden put up comparable offensive numbers. Take away the rings and names and just look at offensive numbers and you could not tell these players apart. The only tangible difference is the guys with ring had a better supporting cast and the supporting cast actually won the rings for those teams. Go back and look who hit the clutch shots or made key defensive stops…Horry, Paxson, Kerr, Miller.

  7. Nam says:

    I agree with everything that people have been saying about the 76ers and Nerlens Noel. Why rush him back when they know that they don’t have the pieces to even make the playoffs? He could use this season to develop more polished offensive game to go with his already strong defensive game. With him as their starting center in 2014-2015, they could then get rid of either Spencer Hawes or Kwame Brown (if he is still even on that team), and then pair him up with Andrew Wiggins if they are lucky enough to land him.

  8. Mike says:

    I generally like Durant as a person, he seems like a nice guy, but why is he going on about this? I don’t even want to get into the debate about who is a better player between Wade and Harden, I think there are points on both sides, I just don’t know why Durant even made the comparison in the first place. LeBron was happy to tweet that he thinks Kobe is still a top five player without saying that he thinks isn’t. Durant could have done the same and said that Harden is a top 10 player and support his friend without disrespecting another great player. I don’t understand why he chose to take it this way.

  9. andrew says:

    I’m pretty sure Durant could have 3 rings by now if he was next to Lebron. By the arguments made on this board, Robert Horry is better than Lebron and Wade put together. And Scottie Pippen is 3X better than Lebron. And Chris Birdman Anderson is better than Durant. Actually, by taking the incredibly stupid arguments posted here by Wade fans, the entire top 10 should only consist of players with multiple rings, even if they are benchwarmers because people are comparing second bananas with alpha dogs.

    • TJ says:

      At Andrew,
      I think you are smoking crack or just don’t have any idea about what you are talking.
      You can’t go to the absolute, and if we should use your reasoning, then Durand and harden should have at least 2rings then since they are both better than wade in your estimation and they played together, wade didn’t play with LeBron for his first ring?
      Quit being a hater, and an idiot at the same time.
      Wade career is better and his numbers are better even last year when he was injured, the difference is that harden took more shots because he had to, wade plays a team game.

      Harden will hopefully become a very good player, but the two should not be mentioned in the same sentence right now.
      End of story

  10. okc2014 says:

    This is my question, maybe I’m way off base here: Why would any team draft an injured player? It makes no sense. for anyone to have even picked this guy. He was clearly hurt at the time of the draft. What about the other young players out there who didn’t get picked and are ready willing and able to play? What a waste of money time and effort. And I also heard that the Cleveland lottery pick has really bad asthma. That’s scary and another liability for them. It just seems to me the NBA is being greedy when they pick these players who are not healthy hoping for some “championship” or something magical to happen in the furure. The Philadelphia 76’s are losers. Too bad, so sad…

    • Bob Digi says:

      If you don’t draft him. You risk losing him to another organization. I would agree that if he is not going to play at all this year he should not be eligible for this draft and he should be redrafted next year. But then the problem arises that the sixers lose a draft pick. Kind of an if we could see the future we should of done this sort of problem.

  11. D-wade real business. not unstoppable, but a definite competitor and poured his heart out in the finals (As all “Greats” do). Laid it all out there. Durant made to the finals and didn’t see a fire needed to be the STARVING Miami Heat squad where it was do our die for them. Make or break crunch time D-Wade rose, fought and won against none other than durant

  12. Gillsy says:

    I think giving Noel time to rehab is a good idea breaking down and building up his game will be good for him. He can get some moves in the post down pat which he has none and maybe put on 30 to 40 pounds. He will participate in practices with the Sixers and start next year a more complete player.

  13. jimbo says:

    Freida, currently Wade can only “kick somebody’s butt” if he either blindsides them or trips and falls on them. “Sneaky D” has lost a step. By the way, his “3 rings” are courtesy of Shaq (1) and LeBron (2). Had they not been part of the Miami Heat teams, he would have the same number of rings as KD and Harden !!

    • Kei says:

      Shaq? really? D-wade get his first ring because of SHAQ? Oh please! If you said it was alonzo or due to stupidity of avery Johnson defense scheme I might give you that. But shaq? You obviously didn;t see that year’s playoff buddy.

  14. Freida says:

    I thought KD was the nicest nba player but he is showing his real colors. KD should shut up and stop talking about Harden who is not even close to D-Wade now. D-Wade 3 rings, KD no rings and Harden no rings. Trying to agitate D-Wade means he will kick your butt when you play against him. Haven’t you learned that yet?

    • Peter says:

      It only took only a couple of seasons in the league for Wade to develop the toughness, leadership and on-court dominance to carry his team to a championship. It took Lebron a while to develop the mentality, but he eventually did and now has two rings of his own.

      Durant has all the scoring titles in the world, but he still lacks the mental toughness to be a leader. He knows it, and he can’t handle it.

  15. BlackDove- says:

    whats with KD35??
    maybe he should keep it shut and stick to trying to better his game. lol, i dont think his doing himself any favors by running its.
    Power 2 the Heat

    Go NYK!

  16. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    they were asking for it with Bynum and now with this guy…

  17. jimbo says:

    Give Harden a chance people. He WILL replace Wade very soon. Wade has had Shaq and the world’s best player on his teams, or he would not have gotten to any NBA finals. Harden is a complete player and with Howard covering the back door, he should blossom in the next couple years.

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      LOL Wade was a finals MVP and a Scoring Champ! What has harden done 26ppg HAHAHA Wade has done 30ppg so GTFOH. These kids now a days do more talking and crying than proving!

    • ballin like kobe says:

      When shaq was on heat shaq only averaged 16 points in the finals so do not act like shaq carried wade back in 06

    • Blake says:

      You do realize shaq was not SHAQ in the 06 finals. Dwade carried that team to a ring!

    • showbaba says:

      Are u kidding me. Wade had Shaq and Lebron, right. So we can also say that Shaq and Lebron as great as they are had Wade too. If you open your eyes and open your mind and brain to watch the NBA finals and Miami games you would know that as vital as Lebron to the trophy so is Wade and Bosh. No single man on his own can win an NBA title. It’s a team work. Period.

    • asdf says:

      Wade Carried the Heat in the finals. Shaq wasnt “Laker shaq”

  18. Scott says:

    Harden is a horrible defender. As such, he isn’t even in the top 25.

  19. NBAFan says:

    Beleive it not — JAMES HARDEN Is the most hyped-up player….he is not that much worth to compare with WADE. remember WADE is finals MVP and he is flash..

    Houston will be next to top 4 teams in west (Spurs, OKC, Clips and Memphis)…he will easily out of playoffs if they meet any of these teams.

    Dwight might look for another team I think ….

  20. installerx says:

    I want to see DWade vs. JHarden 1-on-1 game. I think Harden will win now. DWade is getting older and a bit slower because of age and injuries. Same could be said to Kobe, Dirk, Duncan (but has turn back time a few times). The top 10 issue is only for this year’s so I think Durant is right. If we were talking Top 10 shooting guards of all time? then maybe DWade might or will make the list.

  21. Lou says:

    I think Durant and any one else who doesnt think Wade is a top 10 player is ridiculous. Many teams would kill to have him.Including the Thunder

    • alp says:

      NO. wade isn’t top 10. just stop it. he’s washed up and people are giving him waaay to much credit in winning these last 2 championships than he deserves. he showed up for 1-2 MAYBE 3 games in every series in the playoffs last year, Lebron just makes him look good though. take away Lebron and you will REALLY see the REAL d wade. a washed up veteran. but with that being said though i think d wade is a top defensive guard in the league still, best shot blocking guard of all time too… but as of right now his offensive game is just so nonchalant and when he takes shots they seem out of the flow or forced, even when he scores sometimes… he tries to play like the wade of 06 but truthfully isn’t at that same level athletically. i think wade is top 15 no doubt but not top 10 anymore

  22. mr g says:

    cavs will get 3 seed this year!!!

  23. mr g says:

    Uncle Drew is back

  24. Us buck says:

    Wade is top10! Harden is still 2-3 years away. I would take a healthy Wade over Harden any day!

  25. Jorge says:

    Regardless of previous achivements, up to last year’s finals Dwane Wade still was a more complete of a player than James Harden was. Yes, Wade has the advantage of playing with better team-mates, etc, etc. But in the context of these lists, Dwane Wade is deservedly more important than Harden. It is not about past accomplisments, just look at Bryant’s place, it is about what they can do today. As has been said before, this list will look very different at the end of the season, looking back on it, but it does not seem to be a bad job at educated speculation. With regards to Durant not dropping the subject, I had the impression this guy was all about playing and showing through action, not about acting like a child, trying to incite others to provide the press with headliners. Durant is good enough of a player and with good enough of a team to be able to shut up and actually show that he means business, honestly, who the hell cares what the top-10 list looks like to current players? they will never even give an honest answer to that because no competitor in their right mind would concede that a primary competitor is as good/better than them. Durant will always be #1 with current players, according to Durant; James will always be #1 among current players, according to himself, same with Kobe etc. There are some who simply will not answer to not sound arrogant/concede.

    Ask them in 10-15 years, looking back, who they thought should have made the list, maybe then the answer will be an honest one.

  26. hairyfrank says:

    Wow NFL players are expected to be ready to play if drafted in the 1st round NBA players are expected to develop a shot. As a Philly fan how can one support a near constant state of rebuilding… ugh!

    • Brandon says:

      He’s coming back from an ACL injury. Why would you rush your first round draft pick back to possibly risk further injury? Sixers won’t going anywhere this year, so this is no big deal. There’s a reason you’re not an NBA GM.

  27. hairyfrank says:

    Wow, NFL no 1 draft picks are expected to play right away, NBA players sit and learn the game for a year. As a Sixers fan can the org. be any more of a joke?

  28. djluis48 says:

    Can someone remind me how manny championships have won D-Wade? And how manny have won Durant? I don’t know, my memory is a little blurry right now…

    • alp says:

      because that has EVERYTHING to do with who is the best player in the NBA. shut up you sound dumb saying that. KD is a better player than d wade right now so rings have NOTHING to do with ANYTHING

      • TonyC says:

        Championship rings have everything to do with an elite player who is deemed “great” like D-Wade. D-Wade sacrificed for the team in order to win multiple championships. Kevin Durant hasn’t sacrificed anything. Its six (6) years now with no championship ring for Durant, yet Wade has 3 already and looking to get another. It’s looking to me like Kevin Durant is the next Tracy McGrady.

      • kriss says:

        TonyC please dont compare durant to Tmac, durant actually shows up for the playoffs. and he will be the best player in the world when lebron either declines or retires. But I dont agree with Durant either, harden has had 1 allstar season and to say he is better than 3 time champion D Wade is wrong.

    • Bob Digi says:

      I guess by your standards, Robert Horry is one of the “Greatest Players” to play the game. Count it up.. 7 Championship rings. Just to be clear Championships don’t define greatness.

      Hopefully this is just Kevin Durant’s tactic to throw D-Wade off is game. If not he just looks foolish.

  29. NyK says:

    I guess on the bright side for the Sixers, being in the lottery for next years draft won’t be the worst thing in the world.

  30. dean says:

    To all those hyping about Noel not playing this season, did you all forget that Blake Griffin sat out his entire first year? I bet Noel COULD play starting Christmas time, but for what? To have the team struggle and make him play huge minutes and get a potential career ending injury? Nah, they will take this year to get everyone else in gear, grab a high draft pick, and move on from there. By next season Noel will be in hopefully tip top shape and they won’t have to put so much weight on his shoulders( or ACL).

  31. Michael Peloton says:

    With due respect to Durant, James harden has not yet proven himself as an elite player worthy to replace Dwade in the existing top ten list. The credentials of James harden is not yet impressive to earn the a coveted spot in the aforesaid elite list. James harden played in the Olympics. But his role is very limited that he is merely playing as a reserve player. Word doesnt make a player an elite player. His achievements must precede the purported title.

    • Son says:

      That’s correct they need to prove it and it doesn’t take one season. just work hard like Dwade and lets see what comes after.

    • Peter says:

      I would also suggest that Durant should learn to actually play some defense before he starts criticising other star players.

      As much as I dislike the person Wade has become (one of the dirtiest players in the league) he, like Lebron, plays on both ends of the floor. As great as Durant is as a player, I find it very difficult to rate players as elite when they only play on one end of the floor. Same deal with guys like Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitski, Derek Rose, Steph Curry and James Harden. Those guys are all about offense and coldn’t defend to save their lives.

      This is why I respect guys like Lebron, Wade, Iggy, Paul George, KG, Rondo, Paul, Duncan, etc. Those guys play the game on both ends of the floor.

      I don’t respect Wade as a person, but I respect his game.

      • UnkleDaddy says:

        Tony Parker doesn’t defend, have you ever watched a Spurs game. Their the only team where if you don’t play D, you get benched.

      • AG Coleman says:

        What can I say when your right your right as much as I like D Rose he is just an offensive player along with the others you named But I think that’s where a lot of people get things confused it is a difference between a great scorer and great player There is a lot more to the game of Basketball than scoring someone who plays on both ends of the court and make others around them better is a complete player which is why Kevin Durant definitely needs to close his mouth n respect one Of the greatest shooting guards to ever play the game Carmelo n Durant will give u 40 but loose in the playoffs every year Great scorers Not Great Players!!

    • htg2828 says:

      Top ten this year, not overall (career wise) james harden is definitely a top ten at this point! Wade was on the decline since 2010!

  32. Toni says:

    Wow man….sixers dont have any luck. This is just amazing. Idk if Noel is going to be anygood i dont see much in him…they are going to have the worst NBA season in the history of NBA.

  33. isack says:

    poor sixers… they lost iverson, iguodala, evan turner is as good as i expected, bynum did nothing for them and now this.