Free agent center Nerlens Noel signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, March 4th after reaching a buyout with the Detroit Pistons. This past summer, Noel was part of a trade from the New York Knicks to the Pistons, a cap relief move for the Knicks to sign now-point guard Jalen Brunson.
Noel only appeared in fourteen games with the Pistons, starting in three. The former Wildcat struggled to get on the court due to the youth movement for the Pistons with Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren, and now James Wiseman, who was acquired from the Warriors at the deadline.
Fit With Brooklyn
The emergence of Nic Claxton for the Nets as their starting center has been a significant building block for the franchise, but the concern has been who will back him up. The only center on the roster prior to the Noel signing was Day’Ron Sharpe, who is a second-year player and has shown flashes but still requires time to develop.
Noel and Claxton provide similar skill sets for the Nets as rim protectors and lob threats. Noel has shown he is capable of playing spot minutes and being able to protect the rim, averaging 1.5 blocks for his career.
The eight-year veteran made his Nets debut against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, March 7th where he played nearly eighteen minutes and put up 2 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Noel did a little bit of everything in limited minutes but showed some negatives with two turnovers and five fouls.
Future With The Team
It is only one game and he has not played in an NBA game since February 8th in which he only played three minutes. It will be interesting to see how this ten-day pans out and if the Nets decide to keep him around with ten days or if he makes the actual roster.
The Nets are in the market for a backup center and Noel fits that mold of what the team is looking for, someone to protect the rim while Claxton has to rest. Time will tell if Noel will prove his worth to stick around for the Nets.
The Nets are currently on a three-game winning streak as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 2.5-game lead over the Miami Heat.
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