The Mavs made a big move on the day of the trade deadline and they might not even be done.
Dallas sent Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a 1st round pick (protected picks 1-18 this year; will turn into two second round picks in 2017/2018 if Dallas doesn’t surrender the first round pick this year) to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the 22 year old center Nerlens Noel.
Drafted with the 6th overall pick of the 2013 draft, Nerlens Noel has been had an up and down first three and a half seasons in Philadelphia. In his final season at Kentucky, Noel suffered a serious ACL injury that hurt his draft stock and made him miss his entire first season in 2013-2014. The 6’11” big man had a great rookie year averaging a near double-double and was a member of the 2014-2015 All-Rookie First Team.
In the 2014 Draft, the 76ers drafted center Joel Embiid and then center Jahlil Okafor in the 2015 draft. This created a crowded front court for the 76ers that has sometimes rubbed Noel the wrong way. He has been in and out of a consistent role for Philly this season depending on the health of Embiid. After a game in December where he didn’t play much, Noel let the media know how he felt.
Interestingly, that December 16th game against the Lakers where he only played 8 minutes was just his second game this season. Noel missed the first six weeks of the season after having a “minor” procedure on his knee late in the preseason. In just 29 games this season, Noel is averaging 8.9 points and 5 rebounds per game. In his 7 games as a starter, he is averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game.
More impressive are Noel’s per 36 minutes numbers: 16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. Translation: Pretty good.
On the contract side, Nerlens Noel will be a restricted free agent this summer. Shortly after reporting the trade, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Mavericks will be working to get him to sign an extension. Even if they don’t immediately get the extension done, Dallas will be able to match any offer that other teams throw Noel’s way.
Should Noel be here long-term, the easiest comparison would be to fan-favorite Tyson Chandler. Both have their limitations offensively, but offer tremendous athleticism with defense and rebouding. In this era of NBA basketball a dominant low post center isn’t too popular. This bares mentioning again:
Noel is just 22 years old.
Dallas has a chance to have a Tyson Chandler type player and perhaps more at the age of just 22. While it certainly is going to be hard for some Mavs fans to say goodbye to Justin Anderson, it’s time to recognize how incredibly hard it is to fully land a young center. Remember the painful pursuits of DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside in free agency? No Emoji-Gate or early morning Snapchat watching here. Just a smooth deal by GM Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban.
The Mavs face the Timberwolves tomorrow night in Minnesota and Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis when they host the Pelicans Saturday night. Had you checked out of this Mavericks season? Welcome back to exciting Mavs basketball, friends.