Philadelphia 76ers star Nerlens Noel believes that he should be involved in the Rookie of the Year discussion after an impressive season so far.
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With many picking Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins as their favourite for the award, Noel has flown under the radar but has been putting up steady numbers in a struggling Sixers team.
However, after his career-best performance against the New York Knicks on Friday night, both Noel and coach Brett Brown have begun talking up his chances of upsetting the odds.
“I think as the season winds down and with the way I’m playing, I should be in somewhat of the discussion,” Noel said, according to The Intelligencer.
“I feel that award should probably go to the best player. Who helps their team win games and keeps them in games and affects the games in so many different ways. I continue to get better and better.”
The No. 6 overall selection in 2013 sat out his first season with a torn ACL, but he is adamant that his game is improving as he becomes more confident and he hopes to establish himself as the go-to guy on the Sixers roster.
Noel leads all rookies in rebounds with 7.9 per game, as well as blocks (1.9) and steals (1.8), however it is still difficult to see him surpassing Wiggins in the race given the latter’s consistency.
With Jabari Parker suffering a season-ending injury, Wiggins has certainly become the favourite to secure the award, while Chicago Bulls star Nikola Mirotic has also made a late run with his impressive play over the last month.