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Sixers Notes: Noel eager to display new game
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For all the people eager to make sure that Nerlens Noel is the same guy he was at Kentucky when he finally suits up for the Sixers in Saturday’s Orlando Pro Summer League debut, the big man is trying to be someone different.

Sure, Noel feels all of the dunks, rebounds and blocked shots will be there. But he’s more interested in showing what he’s added to his repertoire since tearing his ACL in February of 2013.

“Just my development,” Noel said after the team’s final minicamp practice at PCOM. “It’s been a long year and a half and I’ve been itching to get back. I’m going to come out there, play hard, just show what I’ve improved on. The jumper, everything offensively, defensively, physically. I’m just trying to go out there and play hard.”

Sitting on the sidelines can be difficult for players, but Noel managed to make the most of his inability to play during the 2013-14 season.

“Last year was a great season,” he said. “I learned a lot from Coach (Brett) Brown, Coach (Greg) Foster, the whole coaching staff, some of the guys on the team, some of the veterans that got traded while they were here. I was learning just sitting back, sitting on the bench watching guys like Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, (LaMarcus) Aldridge, all the great big men in the NBA. I just tried to pick parts of their game and try to implement them into mine. It’s been a learning process and I’ve been patient and done well with it.”

Just how well Noel has done remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: When he takes the court to face the Magic on Saturday, everyone will be fixated on the man with the signature flat top.

“There will be a lot of eyes on me, but I’m definitely coming in with a team mentality,” Noel said.

“From the public’s perspective, everybody’s going to be anxious to see what he looks like,” Sixers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We’ve seen him for a couple months now whether it’s our practice or whether it’s one-on-one drills or this week.

“I don’t think we’re too worried. There are no expectations on him. We want to see Nerlens be Nerlens. He’ll be fine. He’ll probably have some jitters in the first game, but we’ll try to make it as simple and easy for him as well.”

Sims for three?
Members of the Sixers’ summer league team haven’t been the only ones working out at PCOM this week. Other players on the regular roster have frequented the gym to hone their skills.

On Thursday, center Henry Sims dropped in for a workout. But prior to diving into his personal work, Sims decided to join a friendly three-point contest that was already in progress between Hollis Thompson, Casper Ware and Aaron Craft.

The rules were the first player to make three in a row from a particular spot wins. The trio of shooters were in the left corner when Sims strolled to the front of the line and calmly knocked down three in a row from beyond the arc all while talking to Pierce.

“What, you thought Hollis was the best three-point shooter in the gym?” a smiling Sims said as he walked away.