Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel
26-Year-Old CenterC
Oklahoma City Thunder
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Noel will return to the Thunder as a backup center for his second season with the team. Noel appeared in 77 games but logged the fewest minutes (13.7 per game) of his career. He provided minimal contributions offensively, with 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds, but he was one of the best per-minute defenders in the NBA. Noel averaged 2.1 combined blocks/steals in limited action and provided a defensive spark for the second unit. His per-36 numbers were huge, with averages of 12.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and a ridiculous 5.6 combined blocks/steals. Steven Adams is firmly entrenched as the starting center, but the rebuilding Thunder may opt to give Noel some additional run, especially after his strong showing defensively. For now, Noel is a deep-league add only given the uncertainty of his playing time, but if Adams were to miss time for any reason, he could return fantasy value immediately in all formats. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $2.03 million contract with the Thunder in July of 2019.
Personal Bio

Noel was born in 1994 in Malden, Massachusetts. He is the son of Dorcina Noel and has two older brothers and a younger sister. Noel played his first two years of high school ball at Everett High in Everett, Massachusetts. After his sophomore season, he transferred to Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire. During his senior season, Noel averaged 12.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per contest. Noel is a big fan of the New England Patriots and works with POWERforward International in Haiti, which is a nonprofit organization that inspires underprivileged children to achieve more through education. Follow Nerlens on both Twitter and Instagram (@nerlensnoel3).

College/International Summary

Noel played one year of college ball at the University of Kentucky in 2012-13. As a freshman, he was expected to fill the shoes of recently departed Anthony Davis, who led the Wildcats to a national title. During a Jan. 29 win over Ole Miss, Noel set a UK single-game record with 12 blocks. Unfortunately, his freshman season was cut short due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in February. He finished having played in 24 games while averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and an NCAA-best 4.4 blocks. Noel was awarded the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award and named to the Freshman All-American team. Noel joined Anthony Davis as the only Wildcats to ever record 50 blocks and 50 steals during a single season. He was drafted sixth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft by New Orleans.

Steady off bench
COklahoma City Thunder
March 19, 2020
Noel averaged 17.3 minutes per game after the All-Star break as the primary backup to Steven Adams.
ANALYSIS
While the former lottery pick has been stuck behind Adams for much of the year, he carved out a consistent role, and that continued after the break. In nine games between Feb. 21 and March 8, Noel averaged 7.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 0.9 steals. In his final game before the NBA suspended play, Noel went for five points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes in a win over Boston.
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Past Season Summaries
2018

Nerlens Noel enjoyed a healthy 2018-19 campaign after being limited to just 30 games in 2017-18. He joined the Thunder as a free agent in the summer of 2018 and put together a solid bounce-back season. Noel started two contests in 2018-19 but primarily came off the bench to provide energy and hustle for the Thunder. He played in 77 games -- 47 more than the previous season -- and averaged 4.9 points in just under 14 minutes per game. He was diligent in his role, attacking the glass and challenging shots, averaging 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He also stepped up his efficiency by shooting 58.7 percent from the field, a 6.3 percent increase from the 2017-18 campaign. Noel impressed with a few standout games during the season. On Feb. 14, he tallied 22 points, 13 rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes in a loss to New Orleans. On Oct. 28, he tallied 20 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and a block in a win over the Suns. Noel topped double-digits in scoring on five other occasions and played in all five playoff games for OKC, averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per contest.

2017

Noel spent his fourth year in the league with the Mavericks after being traded from the Sixers. Noel started strongly, posting 16 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and an assist against the Hawks. He continued playing consistently until Nov. 11, when his play and minutes began to drop. It turned out that he had torn a ligament in his right thumb, which required surgery that kept him off the court until Feb. 2. Nerlens battled back and returned before the All-Star break. In his second stretch of games, he greatly improved his rebounding, scoring, assists, steals and blocks. His best game after the break was against the Hornets, which featured his second double-double of the season. Noel scored 10 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, stole the ball four times and dished two assists. He played well defensively during the season, averaging 2.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes, making him the second- and fourth-best player, respectively, for Dallas in those categories.

2016

Noel started his third season in the league recovering from a left-knee injury, missing the Sixers' first 23 games. The center played 29 times for the club, logging seven starts. He averaged 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks in 19.4 minutes. Noel spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the D-League on a rehab assignment but did see any game action. He debuted with Philly on Dec. 11, scoring eight points in 10 minutes against the Pistons. Noel had his best performance on Jan. 24, posting 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks in 29 minutes in a win over the Clippers. On Feb. 23, he was traded to the Mavericks for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut and a first-round draft pick. His debut for the Mavs came nights later, which featured nine points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes against the Pelicans. On March 3, Noel registered 15 points, 17 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 35 minutes against the Grizzlies -- matching his career high in boards. Noel appeared in 22 games, starting 12, for his new club. He averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 22.0 minutes. Dallas finished with a 33-49 record and did not qualify for the playoffs.

2015

Noel played 67 games for the 76ers during his sophomore season. The center started 62 of them, averaging 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks over 29.3 minutes. On opening night, he showed his versatility with 14 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks in 35 minutes against the Celtics. The 21-year old was selected to the 2016 Rising Stars Challenge but missed the event with tendinitis in his right knee. Noel's best performance of the campaign came Feb. 19, when he logged a season-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block against the Pelicans. On March 17, the center recorded a career-high seven steals against the Wizards. He also grabbed a season-high 16 boards that night. Also, Noel notched 16 double-doubles in 2015-16. He scored in double digits 41 times, grabbed 10-plus rebounds on 18 occasions and had two five-plus-assist outings. The Sixers finished with a 10-72 record and did not qualify for postseason play.

2014

Noel was selected by the Pelicans with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and later traded to the 76ers the same night. The center missed his entire rookie season after undergoing knee surgery to repair an ACL torn while playing for the University of Kentucky. His professional debut came Oct. 29, when he posted six points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in 34 minutes against the Pacers. During his rookie season in 2014-15, Noel appeared in 75 games (71 starts) for the Sixers. He averaged 9.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.9 blocks in a career-high 30.8 minutes. The 20-year old participated in the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend, scoring four points for Team USA. On Feb. 20, against the Pacers again, Noel had a personal-best nine blocks. On March 7, the center grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds against the Hawks. Noel established another career high with 30 points against the Clippers on March 27. All told, the Massachusetts native racked up 18 double-doubles in the campaign. He also finished the season as the third rookie in Sixers history to register 100-plus blocks. The franchise did not qualify for the playoffs with a 18-64 record.

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Transaction History
  • June 27, 2013
    Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in the 1st round (6th pick) of the 2013 NBA Draft.
  • July 12, 2013
    Traded by the New Orleans Pelicans with a 2014 1st round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson. Signed a rookie contract shortly thereafter.
  • February 23, 2017
    Traded by the Philadelphia 76ers to the Dallas Mavericks for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, a 2017 2nd round draft pick and a 2020 2nd round draft pick.
  • August 26, 2017
    Signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
  • July 6, 2018
    Signed a two-year contract as a free agent with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but declined his second-year player option.
  • July 1, 2019
    Signed a one-year contract as a free agent with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Noel’s stock continued to drop last season, as he appeared in just 30 games between a thumb injury and DNP-CDs. When he played, he saw just 15.7 minutes per game -- the lowest mark of his career. With the Mavericks signing DeAndre Jordan over the offseason and retaining other center depth, management opted to let Noel walk. Six days after the start of free agency, Noel and the Thunder agreed on a two-year, minimum deal with a second-year player option. It’s been quite the drop for the former sixth overall pick, who started the first 133 games over his first two seasons. But, relative to last season, Noel should have a more defined role behind starter Steven Adams, who averaged 32.7 minutes per game in 2017-18. When seeing between 15-20 minutes last season, Noel averaged 5.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and a combined 1.6 steals/blocks. Those kinds of numbers aren't enough to make him Fantasy relevant, but in the event of an Adams injury, Noel’s upside would make him a hot commodity on the waiver wire.
Noel opened the 2016-17 season in a crowded Philadelphia frontcourt that featured both Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. He ended up playing in 29 games with the Sixers and averaged just 19.4 minutes per game, though that situation was never expected to last with too many better-than-average centers splitting time. That eventually pushed out Noel in a trade to Dallas at the deadline, where he enjoyed slightly better numbers all around. Noel started 12 of the 22 games he played in with the Mavericks, seeing a slight uptick in playing time at 22.0 minutes per game. That translated to 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steal. While he's always been given credit for his defensive prowess and ability as a rim protector, Noel did improve his efficiency on the offensive side of the ball as well. With Dallas, he shot 57.5 percent from the field and 70.8 percent from the free-throw line, both career highs for the third-year center. Looking ahead to the 2017-18 campaign, Noel is fully expected to re-sign with the Mavericks on a hefty pay raise, though the two sides continue to negotiate and there's obviously a chance it all falls through. If he does indeed get a deal done as expected, Noel should have full rights to the starting center job and with just Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri behind him, Noel should get all the minutes he can handle. That would likely allow Noel to push for a near 30-minute workload, which in turn could allow him to near double-double averages with points and rebounds. He's a lock to be a great source of both blocks and steals, so if his offensive game continues to develop, Noel could provide great multi-category production for Fantasy owners.
Noel largely improved his numbers across the board in his second NBA season, but perhaps didn’t make the dramatic leap some had anticipated. Though Noel bumped his scoring to 11.1 points per game (on 52.1% shooting from the field) and remained a valuable source of rebounds (8.1 per game), steals (1.8) and blocks (1.5), he struggled to mesh with rookie Jahlil Okafor, particularly on the offensive end. While Noel is capable of guarding stretch-four types on the perimeter, neither he nor Okafor can step out and hit jumpers, which often caused spacing issues and resulted in Noel being a non-factor on offense when Okafor was on the court and dominating the low-post touches. The inability of the two big men to coexist in addition to the impending debut of center Joel Embiid -- the No. 3 overall pick from 2014 who has missed the last two seasons following a pair of foot surgeries -- suggests that either Noel or Okafor will eventually be dealt elsewhere. Until that happens, however, the crowded 76ers frontcourt may require Noel to take on a decreased role in terms of both playing time and statistical outputs.
After missing the entire 2013-14 season following surgery to repair a torn ACL, Noel finished third in Rookie of the Year voting and revamped the 76ers' defense last season. Through 75 games, he averaged 9.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.8 steals, and 1.7 assists in 31 minutes per game. Noel's efficiency was a bit of a drag, as was expected from him exiting college with a unique shooting form. After working with coach Brett Brown on reconstructing the mechanics of his shot, Noel made 46 percent of his field goals and 61 percent of his free throws, the latter exhibiting a solid eight-percent improvement from his one year in college. He was the only player in the NBA to rank in the top-10 in blocks and steals. Once the Sixers moved him to center full-time and acquired point guard Ish Smith off waivers, Noel's production exploded in the second half of the season as he averaged 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 2.0 blocks over the final 22 contests. His inability to step out beyond the paint and consistently nail jumpers may be magnified this season with rookie Jahlil Okafor projected to nab the starting center gig, shifting Noel to power forward and away from the basket accommodate Okafor's post game.
Nerlens Noel is entering his rookie season in the NBA, after sitting out all of the 2013-14 season recovering from surgery to repair his torn left ACL. In his only season at Kentucky, he averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.1 steals, and 4.4 blocks in 32 minutes per game through 24 games played. He shot 59 percent from the field on 6.9 attempts per game and 53 percent from the free-throw line on 4.3 attempts per game. Noel is a talented defensive player, having won SEC Defensive Player of the Year and All-SEC Defensive Team awards during his injury-shortened freshman season. He's the rare big man capable of recording multiple steals and blocks per game. Through five games of summer league play, he recorded 1.8 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. His overall offensive game needs improvement, but there are some signs that he could develop into an above-average offensive center. He's comfortable and willing to handle the ball with either his left or his right hand, has a quick first step on drives, and when he gets to the rim, he is a very strong finisher. However, at this point, he has no jump shot to speak of, and unless that improves, NBA defenses will allow him extra space in order to offset his ability to drive and finish. Before summer league, Noel had not played an organized game since February of 2013, so he is likely to begin the season somewhat rusty and out of shape. By the time he feels fully healthy and conditioned, whenever that may come, he's likely to provide statistical value in all formats.
Once thought to be the unanimous No. 1 pick in mock drafts, Noel slid to the Pelicans with the sixth pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, only to get traded to the Sixers shortly after. The rookie has much to prove, as the Sixers gave up proven All-Star Jrue Holiday in the second consecutive year where the franchise invested large stakes in a center. Noel will likely return before January, and could make a solid fantasy impact, particularly in defensive categories such as steals and blocks, if owners are willing to stash him for the first few months.
More Fantasy News
Two swipes and two swats
COklahoma City Thunder
March 3, 2020
Noel collected four points (2-3 FG), three rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 15 minutes during Tuesday's 109-94 loss to the Clippers.
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Swats five shots
COklahoma City Thunder
February 24, 2020
Noel finished with 10 points (5-5 FG), five blocks, one rebound and one steal in 16 minutes Sunday in the Thunder's 131-103 win over the Spurs.
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Posts dud in 11 minutes
COklahoma City Thunder
February 13, 2020
Noel had two points (1-4 FG) and three rebounds in 11 minutes during Thursday's 123-118 victory over the Pelicans.
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Nears double-double in 19 minutes
COklahoma City Thunder
January 27, 2020
Noel (face) posted nine points (3-4 FG, 3-3 FT), eight rebounds, one assist and one block in 19 minutes during Monday's 107-97 loss to the Mavericks.
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Good to go
COklahoma City Thunder
January 27, 2020
Noel (face) will play Monday against the Mavericks, Erik Horne of The Athletic reports.
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