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It's been 18 months since Nerlens Noel last played competitively, having sat out the entire 2013-14 season recovering from a torn ACL. You wouldn't know it from the Orlando Summer League, where he averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 boards and three blocks over a three-game stretch.
After his summer league debut, Noel told ESPN.com's Michael Wallace:
I haven't been thinking about the knee for many months now. So I'm definitely going to continue to get it strong, as strong as possible and continue working. It's very validating. It's been 18 months since I played an organized game, and I felt great today. I'm real happy, but I can't get too happy because it's a long road ahead of me.
As long as Noel stays healthy, his elite athleticism, physical tools and shot-blocking instincts should translate immediately to the NBA's interior. He's a monster finishing target for dump passes and lobs, whether it's off drive-and-dishes or pick-and-rolls, while his length, mobility and anticipation will help shrink the size of the rim he's protecting.
In between, he'll give Philadelphia a solid presence on the glass, a rangy, active defender and a strong candidate to tip in a miss or two per game.
Noel can make things happen without needing the ball. And that's what should allow him to excel as a rookie while his skills take time to develop.