By Barbara Harrison
Nerlens Noel’s rookie season wound up with a supreme honor.
The Sixers’ big man Nerlens Noel was named to the NBA All-Rookie first team Monday.
Noel, who sat out all of 2014 while recovering from a torn ACL, finished his rookie season averaging 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Primarily playing center, Noel began to make a transition to power forward late in the season in preparation for the arrival of last summer’s third overall choice Joel Embiid at center next season.
“I’m ecstatic to play with Joel,” Noel said. “I think it’s going to be something special. The chemistry we already have, and we haven’t even been on the court together, is something that’s great to have.
“I think things we need to work on, me personally, I need to continue to work on the shooting and be able to spread the floor a little bit, be able to knock down a 15-footer with more consistency. And as time goes on, I think Joel’s going to be good. He already has touch around the basket, and he can extend his game out to 15-footers, so I think it’s going to be very complimentary. Both of us having the ability to pass the ball, I think that’s going to be something that people don’t know too much about that’s going to help us a lot.”
Perhaps more impressive than Noel’s scoring average and rebounding prowess was the fact that he finished the season shooting 46.2 percent in 75 games.
Joining Noel on the All-Rookie team are Wiggins, Nikola Mirotic, Elfrid Payton and Jordan Clarkson.