BOSTON (CBS) — Nerlens Noel wanting out of Philadelphia isn’t really anything new, but it appears the young big man’s wishes may soon be answered.
If the 76ers do accommodate the 22-year-old, the Celtics would likely be interested. Noel would immediately fill a big area of need on Boston, and C’s play-by-play man Mike Gorman said he’d be willing to part with a future Brooklyn pick for the talented (but injury-plagued) Noel.
“I like Nerlens; he’s a nice kid with New England ties. The strength of his game is what Boston could use right now: A rim protector and a shot blocker. He’s a bit of damaged goods, so it’s up to the doctors to determine if he can get back to 100 percent. But I would definitely look at Noel as a possibility for this team,” Gorman told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday. “I would give up one of those [Brooklyn] picks for him. I wouldn’t package anyone on the Celtics roster with one of those picks to get him. But that pick we can swap, I would do that.”
Noel has yet to appear in a game this season after opting for knee surgery last month, but the 76ers have a dearth of young big men with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons and Noel.
“I don’t have a whole lot of interest in Okafor, mostly because of how he plays the game and that’s not how the Celtics want to play,” said Gorman. “Noel on the other hand would be a very good fit because he fills a need Boston has. Every game you go into, I talk to Brad [Stevens] before the game and I don’t ask the question anymore — I used to ask him what stat are you looking at the most and it’s always rebounding. That’s the story for the Celtics: If they can stay close to even or out-rebound somebody, they win. If you get out-rebounded by 20 and the other team has 20 more shots than you, it’s harder to win.”
He also defended Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who he said is a key piece to any success the team wants to have in the future.
“Marcus is a very, very valuable player. He leads the team in PMO’s — Pissed Off Most. Every game he gets in guy’s faces, he takes people out of their games because he is as physical as he is. His offense has gotten much better and anyone watching the last few weeks has been really impressed by his passing skills,” said Gorman. “Marcus is a very good player and a rare player. You want him going forward if you’re going to be a contending team.
“You want somebody who can come in and piss LeBron off. If you can’t cover him, come in and piss him off — Marcus can do both,” added Gorman. “I disagree with anyone who relegates Marcus to some second tier; he’s a big-time player.”
Gorman also said that Felger & Mazz, long-time critics of Smart, “Don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Gorman also touched on Al Horford’s paternity leave, Brooklyn’s win over the Clippers and Doc Rivers’ ejection from Tuesday night’s game: