Nerlens Noel has heard the bold talk from those within the Dallas Mavericks’ organization comparing his skills to those of Tyson Chandler.
Before Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Noel didn’t waste much time validating those comparisons.
“He has a lot of the same intangibles I have from anchoring defenses to a vocal leader, a pick-and-roll threat, blocking things up for the shots around him,” Noel said. “And I think that’s why he played such a big part in their 2011 championship finals.”
The Mavs would love to see similar results from Noel. In his first interview with the Fort Worth/Dallas media on Saturday, Noel said: “I hope I can do the same thing and more.”
The Mavs acquired Noel in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a protected first-round draft pick. As Chandler did six years ago, the Mavs view Noel as a player who can clog the middle, become a ferocious rebounder and also become a menace on defense.
It’s a team that wants to get back to the promised land and compete for championship. That’s what I’m all about.
New Maverick Nerlens Noel
“This is a great move for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It fills a specific need.
“It’s the type of player that you almost have to have in the league now to have success. You’ve got to have those long angular guys that can protect the rim and be a threat at the rim as a [pick and] roll or lob guy.”
Those were the intangibles Chandler displayed during his brief two-year tour with the Mavs. And those are the ingredients the Mavs see the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Noel exhibiting.
“I’ve also been impressed watching him over the last couple of years — as he’s gotten healthy — with his feel for the game,” Carlisle said. “He’s a very good passer for a big guy, he’s got a good feel, he sees things, and he can put touch on the ball.
“He’s had good coaching as a youngster and he had excellent coaching in Philadelphia and we want to take advantage of those things.”
This is a great move for us. It fills a specific need.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, on acquiring Nerlens Noel
Noel averaged 8.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in only 19.4 minutes per game this season for the Sixers. Meanwhile, multiple injuries have curtailed Noel’s career, but he said he’s feeling no ill effects from any of those.
“I feel great,” Noel said. “I feel probably the best I’ve ever felt.”
Make no mistake about it. The Mavs anticipate Noel, 22, being one of their young cornerstones going forward, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a competitive team, starting with (owner) Mark Cuban,” Noel said. “He brings a lot of competitiveness to this organization and it’s a team that wants to get back to the promised land and compete for championship.
“That’s what I’m all about.”