Many, myself included, thought that the Mavericks acquisition of Nerlens Noel before the 2017 NBA trade deadline was a fantastic move for the Mavericks and that he would instantly become a double-double guy alongside Dirk Nowitzki on a Dallas team that desperately needed his youth, length and rim protection.
That hasn’t exactly panned out. Dallas refused to offer Noel a long-term contract this off-season and now he’s barely a part of their rotation, averaging a paltry 12.5 minutes per game off of the bench.
Why do you think the Mavericks refuse to make Noel a bigger part of their rotation and future? Apparently it has to do with his commitment.
Here are some excerpts from a piece by Newy Scruggs (fun name) for the Dallas Morning News:
“My sources tell me that Nerlens Noel is not known as a hard worker.
I’m told he doesn’t have a sense of hard play and that’s not going to fly with a head coach like Rick Carlisle who had to cut his teeth as a NBA player.
Until Noel shows a better work ethic other players will get minutes.”
Noel has clearly placed himself in a precarious position being that he is in a contract year, and getting the stigma of poor work ethic attached to you in the NBA could be a death knell for his once promising career and prevent him from getting any long term deal until he changes that perception.
Noel still has time to work himself into the rotation and should be able to easily considering Dallas’s dearth of talent in the front court.
The feeling around the league while Noel was in Philadelphia was that he was more a victim of his situation and a logjam of young big men and that he was never able to fill a defined role or live up to his draft status, but his inability to do so in a much different situation in Dallas doesn’t reflect well on him and makes it seems like he has been given opportunities and not taken advantage of them.
Noel is still only 23 and full of talent, hopefully he puts the work in to turn it around.