At the bottom of a thoughtful column on the hope Nerlens Noel has offered the previously down-and-out Sixers*–headlined, appropriately, “Nerlens Noel Offers Hope to Down Sixers”–Adam Caplan dropped this tasty nugget:
As he gets older, he knows he’ll have to continually get stronger to bang with the East’s big boys such as the Pacers’ 7-foot-2, 280-pound center Roy Hibbert. Noel said he’s already enlisted Hibbert, who has his own array of old-school post moves, to aid his low-post development.
*I’d quibble with this a little. People aren’t excited about Nerlens Noel as much as Nerlens Noel is both a symbol and symptom of the thing they’re really excited about: Sam Hinkie and the newer/smarter direction of the franchise. NBD, though.
While it’s nice to know Noel is already ingratiating himself with the NBA’s center fraternity (their parties blow, but when Shaq visits for homecoming it gets crazy), he probably could have picked a better low-post tutor.
Hibbert, while a difference-maker in general, is an atrocious offensive center–his .489 True Shooting Percentage ranked him 44th out of 54 qualifying centers last season–who’s uniquely ineffective around the basket. In 2012, Hibbert shot 56.8 percent at the rim, a rate that dropped to 53.6 percent last season. The league average for a center is 66.9 percent.
So, by all means Nerlens, hang out with Roy. Pick his brain. Learn what you can. But when he starts talking offense, just excuse yourself. You’ve got enough problems there.