Wizards may consider Nerlens Noel to replace Marcin Gortat
The Washington Wizards will need a new true center after parting ways with Marcin Gortat after trading him to the L.A. Clippers for Austin Rivers.
Among their options is unrestricted free agent Nerlens Noel, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge — an athletic big with intangibles, that if healthy, can produce the way coach Scott Brooks had wanted Gortat to during the span of last season.
Unlike Gortat, Noel is only 24 years old and a defensive specialist — blocking shots and getting his hands on passing lanes for quick steals that could turn the tide of the game.
Playing alongside a point guard like Wall, Noel has the potential to become a lob target like DeAndre Jordan or Clint Capela, giving the Wizards a new-found dimension and a much different level of activity on the offensive glass and at the defensive end.
Noel could also prove a high-risk gamble, given his injury history; but if healthy, he could become a nice gem at a rather cheap price, given that the market for big men is expected to be rather dry again, once the max-level prospects are out of the picture.
Noel posted only 4.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in only 30 games played last season but holds career averages of 9.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.