Bo Jackson is often regarded as the greatest, or at the very least, one of the greatest athletes to have ever lived. However, his athleticism was not the sole reason for his success. Bo Jackson had something else; Bo Jackson had swagger. “Bo Knows” was his catch phrase, and he backed it up with catches that amazed.
Nerlens Noel is not Bo Jackson, nor is he one of the greatest athletes of his generation. He probably isn’t even the best athlete to come out of the University of Kentucky in the past few years (see: John Wall). That being said, Nerlens Noel has something quite similar to the Bo Jackson effect; he has the Nerlens effect.
First, let me tell you what that means. Nerlens’ number one attribute is his ability to block the ball; he truly has a special defensive ability. But Nerlens doesn’t just block the ball, he blocks the ball with authority. The same is true for the way he dunks. He THROWS the ball down. Maybe it’s his hair, maybe it’s just the way he plays, but whatever it is: Nerlens Noel energizes, he brings fans to their feet.
So, naturally, the next question is, so what? Nerlens might help bring fans to the stadium, but can he help the Sixers win? The answer is a resounding yes. Nerlens has the natural ability to help the Sixers’ defense in the short term, but he also has the raw ability to be a real offensive game-changer later in his career. Honestly, he isn’t good enough right now to help the Sixers have a winning season. Nothing, at this point, can help the Sixers to a winning season (sorry guys). But by acquiring Noel and Michael Carter-Williams, the Sixers have helped their chances at having a winning future. As a fan, the trade was favorable.
The Sixers will most likely have a bad season or two, but they should turn things around and might, a few years down the road, actually contend for a championship. After all, in 5-7 years, if the Sixers keep similar personnel, they will have a herd of talented players in the prime of their respective careers. The alternative, not making the Nerlens trade, would probably lead the Sixers to 5 or so more years of contending for the 7 and 8 seed. I, for one, would rather opt for a bright future.
The next season or two will probably be tough, brace yourself. But I believe Nerlens can keep the team relevant, and can lead us into contention in the future. After all, Nerlens Knows. I kind of like the sound of that: Nerlens Knows.