By Sam Bush

Nerlens Noel could play in tonight’s Sixers’ season-ender in Miami after having sprained his ankle last week.

Noel’s second half of this season has been stellar, though he will come up short for Rookie of the Year.

Here’s what Grantland.com thinks:

Nerlens Noel emerged over the last 40 games as a feel-good candidate for a sad-sack team — an expert rim protector who piled up blocks and steals like Hakeem Olajuwon, pounded the glass, and found his footing as a scorer out of the pick-and-roll and the post.

But he was borderline Biyombo-esque during the first part of the season and has shot just 46 percent overall — disastrous for a big man working near the rim — with a high turnover rate. He has finished the season at power forward next to Furkan Aldemir, and his defense away from the rim is way behind his work in the paint. Still: Noel’s late-season development is huge for the Sixers.