Just prior to the 76ers 104-93 preseason loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in which the team shot 7 air balls and MCW hit 1-11 from the field while playing ole’ defense on Kyrie Irving, head coach Brett Brown gave the following unexpected gem to the media when discussing Nerlens Noel’s return from ACL surgery, “I doubt, everybody doubts, that he’s going to play this year.”
Needless to say, this comment from Brown set the the Twitter-sphere on fire last night and for me, this “announcement” (Which was later softened by other comments from “sources” within the Sixers.) is just another addition to the list of mistakes made in the “Joshua Harris Era”.
The moment that Nerlens Noel was acquired, it was plainly obvious that he wasn’t going to play……. If the organization had its way. Nobody seems to care what Nerlens Noel wants to do this season. The 76ers have a new motto, “Together We Build” and this latest misstep is proof of how out of touch the ownership group and everyone involved with the 76ers continue to be.
Since Derrick Rose is the most notable ACL injury in recent NBA history, Noel will erroneously be compared with him. The same Derrick Rose, who had $280,000,000 (between NBA and Adidas) in guaranteed contracts, when he refused to play last season after being medically cleared to do so for a team competing for an NBA title. This is a unique situation, just like Rose’s selfish and heartless actions last year.
If you don’t expect to hear Nerlens Noel contradict the statement made by Brett Brown, you should. One thing that is obvious with pro athletes is, they are all about respect. Brown’s comment, was the ultimate act of disrespect towards Nerlens Noel. To hear your coach openly state that the organization doesn’t expect you to play while you’re six and a half months into rehab, must be infuriating.
Brett Brown isn’t a doctor, so why is he making a medical statement? He didn’t mention a setback in Noel’s rehab which would cause him to miss the season. The only possible way to interpret his statement is that Noel isn’t a hard worker (in Brett Brown and the organization’s eyes) and therefore, won’t be finished his rehab before the season ends.
Here is what based on the recent history of the organization, Nerlens Noel should say.
‘The statements made yesterday by Brett Brown are insulting. It’s one thing for him to think that privately, but to publicly announce that is a joke. Call me crazy, but I think I am going to play this year which was confusing when he said “everyone doubts he will play this year”. I didn’t ask to be traded to the 76ers, but I am here now to ask that they trade me away. If Brett Brown’s statements are true, the organization doesn’t believe in me. The feelings at this moment are currently mutual. I am blessed with the unique opportunity to play basketball for a living and I fully intend to do that as soon as possible. I am not Andrew Bynum, I am not Derrick Rose, I am Nerlens Noel. With that being said, this isn’t necessarily the end to my time in Philadelphia. Mr. Harris, Mr. Hinkie and Mr. Brown all have the opportunity to make this right privately and publicly. If that is done, I look forward to a happy, healthy and successful career with the Philadelphia 76ers.’
Nerlens Noel has been put into a corner by the organization for no good reason and anything other than an angry response will be disheartening. He has an opportunity to set the tone for his career in Philly earlier than anyone expected. To stand up as a man and make it clear, he is here to fight and bleed for his teammates and the fans of Philadelphia. What happens in the next few days will be an interesting view into the mind of Nerlens Noel.
Regardless of what follows, how is it possible to believe in “Together We Build”?
Steve Toll is a scribe for Philadunkia.com.
You can follow him on Twitter @BasementGM.
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