Basketball Wiki
Nerlens Noel
Noel during a 76ers game in January 2015.
Free Agent
Position: Power Forward / Center
League: NBA
Personal information
Born: April 10, 1994 (1994-04-10) (age 30)
Malden, Massachusetts
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Physical stats
Listed height: 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight: 220 lbs (100 kg)
National Basketball Association career
Debut: 2013 for the Philadelphia 76ers
Career information
High school: Everett
(Everett, Massachusetts)
Tilton School
(Tilton, New Hampshire)
College: Kentucky (2012-2013)
NBA Draft: 2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall
Selected by the New Orleans Pelicans
Playing career: 2013-present (11 years)
Career history
20132017 Philadelphia 76ers
20172018 Dallas Mavericks
20182020 Oklahoma City Thunder
20202022 New York Knicks
2022–2023 Detroit Pistons
2023 Brooklyn Nets
Career highlights and awards profile nerlens_noel profile

Nerlens Noel (born April 10, 1994) is an American professional basketball player who last played for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His collegiate basketball career ended in his first season with a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the University of Kentucky. Noel was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans. His rights were later traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. He plays Power Forward and Center, and was one of the top high school basketball players in the class of 2012.

High school career[]

20110110 Nerlens Noel (profile) at Hoop Hall Classic

Noel at the Hoop Hall Classic in 2011.

Born outside Boston in Malden, Massachusetts to Haitian immigrant parents, Noel spent his first two years of high school at Everett High School.[1] After his sophomore year, he transferred to Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire.[2][3] Noel was originally a part of the class of 2013, but reclassified to the 2012 college recruiting class.[4] Noel averaged 12.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks per game as a senior.[5]

He was rated as the #1 player in the class of 2012 by ESPN[6] and,[7] and the #2 player by SLAM.[8] Noel was selected to play in the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit[9] and the 2012 Jordan Brand Classic.[10] In addition to his high school career, Noel also played AAU basketball on the same team as future Sixers teammate Michael Carter-Williams.[11] Shortly before his high school graduation, an article in The New York Times described Noel as being hailed as one of the best shot blockers of his generation, although he was also described as having unrefined offensive skills.[2]

College career[]

Nerlens Noel

Noel in a Kentucky Wildcats game in 2012.

After deliberating among several elite college basketball programs,[2] Noel decided in April 2012 that he would be going to the University of Kentucky to play NCAA Division I basketball. He made his verbal commitment by revealing the UK logo shaved in the back of his head on national television.[12] Since Noel was well known for his elite shot blocking abilities, fans and the media had high expectations for him to fill the shoes of Anthony Davis, who had just led the Kentucky Wildcats to a national championship in the previous season, was the 2011–2012 National Player of the Year in the NCAA, and set a Kentucky and NCAA freshman single-season block record with 186.[13]

In his third game on November 16, 2012, he accumulated 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, and 4 steals against Lafayette.[14] On January 12, 2013, although Kentucky lost the game against Texas A&M, Noel recorded 15 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks, 6 assists, and 4 steals.[15]

On January 29, 2013, Noel set the UK single-game record with 12 blocks in an 87–74 team victory over #16 Ole Miss.[16] Five of the blocks happened while Noel had four personal fouls, and two of them were denials on slam dunk attempts. The UK school record was previously nine blocks, set by Sam Bowie in 1981 and was then tied by Andre Riddick in 1993. Although he recorded only two points, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said in the post-game press conference that "[Noel] was the difference in the game" and that he is "an incredible defensive presence." Ole Miss senior forward Murphy Holloway added that he believes Nerlens Noel is the "best shot blocker [he has] played against", including Anthony Davis.

On February 12, 2013, in a game against the Florida Gators, Noel tore the ACL in his left knee after blocking a Florida lay-up, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the season.[17] Before his injury, it was projected that he would be the 1st overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Despite his injury, Noel decided to declare for the 2013 Draft on April 15, 2013.[18]

Noel was honored with many awards, including SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, SEC First Team, SEC All Freshman Team, and SEC Community Service Team. In addition to earning All-SEC first team honors by the league's coaches, Noel earned first-team honors from the Associated Press, continuing a four-year streak of UK players earning first-team AP honors.

The Wildcats' 6'11" Center was joined by UNLV Runnin' Rebels' Anthony Bennett, UCLA Bruins's Shabazz Muhammad, Oklahoma State Cowboys's Marcus Smart and Kansas Jayhawks's Ben McLemore on the Freshman All-America team. He was the fifth Kentucky player under coach John Calipari to earn the honor from the USBWA, joining John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.[19]

Professional career[]

NBA draft[]

Noel entered the 2013 NBA Draft after playing one season at the University of Kentucky and was projected to be one of the top picks, with many considering Noel the favorite to be picked first in the draft.[20][21] He was invited to sit in the "green room", a room of the projected top 10 to 15 collegiate basketball players during the draft and ended up being selected with the sixth overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.[22] There were concerns around the league about his torn left ACL, which may have caused him to slide down the draft.[20][23] Later that night, Noel's draft rights were traded along with a 2014 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for guard Jrue Holiday and the draft rights to Pierre Jackson.[24]

Philadelphia 76ers (2013–2017)[]

Draft year injury and rookie season (2013–2015)[]

On July 12, 2013, the trade sending Noel to the 76ers was finalized.[24][25] On September 24, 2013, he signed with the 76ers.[26] Although the 76ers' original plan was to have Noel play during the 2013–14 season, Noel missed the entire season as he recovered from knee surgery.[27][28]

In July 2014, Noel joined the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2014 NBA Summer League.[29] In game one of the 76ers' Orlando Summer League schedule, Noel played his first minutes of professional basketball, scoring a game-high 19 points in the 76ers' 83–77 loss to the Orlando Magic.[30]

On October 29, 2014, Noel made his long-awaited NBA debut in the 76ers' 103–91 loss to the Indiana Pacers. In just under 35 minutes of action as a starter, he recorded 6 points on 2-of-11 shooting, along with 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.[31] Two days later, the 76ers exercised their third-year team option on Noel's rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2015–16 season.[32] Later that day, he recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists, and 1 steal in a loss to Milwaukee Bucks.[33] On January 30, he recorded 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and a then-career-high 6 blocks in a 103–94 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.[34]

Nerlens Noel with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015

Noel as a 76er in 2015.

Participating in the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge on February 13, Noel recorded 4 points and 4 rebounds as Team USA were defeated by Team World, 121–112.[35] On February 20, Noel recorded 12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and a career-high 9 blocks in a loss to the Indiana Pacers.[36] A week later against Washington, Noel became just the third 76ers' rookie to record 100 blocks in a season.[37]

Injury and rotation issues (2015–2017)[]

On October 30, 2015, the 76ers exercised their fourth-year team option on Noel's rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2016–17 season.[38] On December 30, he recorded a season-high 20 points and 9 rebounds in a 110–105 win over the Sacramento Kings.[39] On February 11, he was ruled out of the 2016 Rising Stars Challenge due to tendinitis in his right knee.[40]

On October 22, 2016, Noel was ruled out for three to five weeks due to an inflamed plica above his left knee that required surgery.[41] After spending time with the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League on injury rehab assignments in late November and early December,[42][43] Noel made his season debut for the 76ers on December 11 against the Detroit Pistons, having missed the first 23 games. He scored eight points in 10 minutes off the bench before leaving the game in the second quarter with a left ankle sprain.[44]

Even before he returned to the team, Noel was particularly vocal about the log-jam the 76ers had at the center position with him as well as Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Richaun Holmes competing for time on the court. In his second game back from injury, Noel posted just eight minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers, much to his frustration.[45] Noel expressed his dissatisfaction with his limited role in a post-game conference, lamenting "I'm not an eight-minute player. So I don't know what that's about. I don't really care [who he's paired with]. I need to be on the court playing basketball. I'm too good to be playing eight minutes right now—that's crazy... Need to figure this [stuff] out".[45] Following a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets in which Noel did not play, coach Brett Brown announced Noel would not participate in the 76ers regular rotation for the foreseeable future while emphasizing the move was unrelated to Noel's recent disagreements with the team.[45] Contrary to Brown's statement, Noel returned two games later, and assumed a backup role behind Embiid as Okafor recovered from a right knee injury.[46]

On January 24, 2017, while making his first start of the season in place of the injured Joel Embiid, Noel scored a season-high 19 points and had three blocked shots in a 121–110 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.[47]

Dallas Mavericks (2017–2018)[]

On February 23, 2017, Noel was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut and a 2017 protected first-round pick.[48] He made his debut for the Mavericks two days later, recording nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench in a 96–83 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.[49] On March 3, 2017, in his first start for the Mavericks, Noel tied a career high with 17 rebounds while scoring 15 points in a 104–100 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.[50]

On June 23, 2017, the Mavericks tendered a $4.1 million[51] qualifying offer to make Noel a restricted free agent.[52] On August 26, 2017, he accepted the one-year, $4.1 million qualifying offer,[51] officially re-signing with the Mavericks two days later.[53] In the Mavericks' season opener on October 18, 2017, Noel had 16 points, his most since joining Dallas, and 11 rebounds in a 117–111 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.[54] On December 8, 2017, he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.[55] He subsequently missed 42 games, returning to action on February 28, 2018 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, recording four points, three rebounds and four fouls in 16 minutes in a 111–110 overtime loss.[56] On March 6, 2018, he had a season-high 14 rebounds in a 118–107 win over the Denver Nuggets.[57] On April 3, 2018, he was suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.[58]

Oklahoma City Thunder (2018–2020)[]

On July 6, 2018, Noel signed a two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.[59][60] On October 28, 2018, he had 20 points and 15 rebounds in a 117–110 win over the Phoenix Suns.[61] On December 31, he scored 15 points in 15 minutes in a 122–102 win over the Dallas Mavericks.[62] On January 8 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Noel was taken off the court on a stretcher in the third quarter after taking an elbow in the face and hitting the floor hard.[63] Due to concussion, he missed the next three games.[64]

New York Knicks (2020–2022)[]

On November 25, 2020, Noel signed a one-year contract with the New York Knicks.[65][66] On August 11, 2021, the Knicks re-signed Noel to a three-year, $32 million deal.[67][68]

Detroit Pistons (2022–present)[]

On July 11, 2022, Noel and Alec Burks were traded to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for draft rights to Nikola Radičević and 2025 protected second-round pick.

Career statistics[]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high


Regular season[]

2014-15 Philadelphia 75 71 30.8 .462 .609 8.1 1.7 1.8 1.9 9.9
2015-16 Philadelphia 67 62 29.3 .521 .500 .590 8.1 1.8 1.8 1.5 11.1
2016-17 Philadelphia 29 7 19.4 .611 .000 .683 5.0 1.0 1.4 .9 8.9
2016-17 Dallas 22 12 22.0 .575 .708 6.8 .9 1.0 1.1 8.5
2017-18 Dallas 30 6 15.7 .524 .000 .750 5.6 .7 1.0 .7 4.4
2018-19 Oklahoma City 77 2 13.7 .587 .684 4.2 .6 .9 1.2 4.9
2019-20 Oklahoma City 61 7 18.5 .684 .333 .755 4.9 .9 1.0 1.5 7.4
2020-21 New York 64 41 24.2 .614 .000 .714 6.4 .7 1.1 2.2 5.1
Career 425 208 22.4 .549 .200 .653 6.2 1.1 1.3 1.5 7.6


2019 Oklahoma City 5 0 12.0 .600 .000 3.8 .0 .4 .6 4.8
2020 Oklahoma City 7 0 13.9 .471 .000 .500 4.1 .4 .3 .7 3.0
2021 New York 5 2 18.4 .500 .813 4.0 .2 .8 .6 4.6
Career 17 2 14.6 .532 .000 .643 4.0 .2 .5 .6 4.0

College statistics[]

2012–13 Kentucky 24 24 31.9 .590 .529 9.5 1.6 2.1 4.4 10.5

Personal life[]

Noel's parents migrated from Haiti in 1990.[2] He has two older brothers and one younger sister; both of Noel's older brothers played for Division I college football programs.[69] His oldest brother, Jim, played for Boston College, while Rodman played for North Carolina State.[69]

  1. Benbow, Julian. "Everett's Noel commits to Kentucky - The Boston Globe". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Thamel, Pete (March 10, 2012) Everybody Wants a Piece of Nerlens Noel. The New York Times
  3. Nerlens Noel's Tilton School 11–12 Basketball Profile. Retrieved on March 27, 2013.
  4. "Nerlens Noel is Now a Senior, Reclassifies to 2012 Class". SLAM Online. February 2, 2012. 
  5. "Nerlens Noel officially joins Kentucky" (in en-US). April 19, 2012. 
  6. "ESPNU 100 – Class of 2012". ESPN. 
  7. " Basketball Rankings – 2012". 
  8. "SLAM Fresh 50 – 2012". SLAM Online. 
  9. "US Rosters Announced for 2012 Nike Hoop Summit". SLAM Online. March 9, 2012. 
  10. Jordan, Jason (March 14, 2012). "Noel added to Jordan Classic roster". ESPN. 
  11. Feldman, Dan (June 28, 2013). "Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams team back up with 76ers". NBCSports. 
  12. Paul Biancardi (April 11, 2012). "Nerlens Noel chooses Kentucky". ESPN. 
  13. Ables, Paul. "Kentucky Basketball: How Nerlens Noel Can Replace Anthony Davis" (in en). 
  14. "Lafayette men's basketball team crushed by No. 3 Kentucky, 101-49" (in en-US). 
  15. "NCAA Game Summary - Texas A&M at Kentucky". 
  16. "Nerlens Noel has 12 blocks as Kentucky Wildcats beat Ole Miss Rebels" (in en). 
  17. "Defending Champion Kentucky Loses Star Freshman" (in en-US). February 14, 2013. 
  18. "Kentucky's Nerlens Noel declares for NBA draft" (in en). 
  19. "Nerlens Noel hauls in additional postseason accolades". March 26, 2013. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Smith, Chris (June 28, 2013). "Nerlens Noel's NBA Draft Slide Will Cost Him $10 Million". Forbes. 
  21. Deveney, Sean (May 21, 2013). "Draft watch: Nerlens Noel 'is best player in the draft,' scout says". Sporting News. 
  22. "Sources: Pelicans-76ers work Noel-Holiday deal" (in en). June 28, 2013. 
  23. Goodman, Jeff, ed (June 28, 2015). "Slide a blessing in disguise for Noel". ESPN. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Nerlens Noel-Jrue Holiday deal done". ESPN. July 12, 2013. 
  25. "Sixers Acquire Rights to Nerlens Noel and a 2014 First-round Pick in Trade With New Orleans" (Press release). Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. July 12, 2013. 
  26. "Sixers Sign Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams" (Press release). Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. September 24, 2013. 
  27. Windhorst, Brian (October 22, 2013). "Nerlens Noel to miss season". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. 
  28. "Nerlens Noel's Hard Rehab Road to Next Season". November 11, 2013. 
  29. "Sixers Announce Orlando Pro Summer League Camp Invitees" (Press release). Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. July 1, 2014. 
  30. "OPSL: Magic 83, Sixers 77". (Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.). July 5, 2014. 
  31. Marot, Michael (October 29, 2014). "Hibbert helps Pacers pull away from 76ers 103-91". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. 
  32. "Sixers Exercise Team Options On Three Players" (Press release). Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. October 31, 2014. 
  33. Armas, Genaro (October 31, 2014). "Mayo scores 25, Bucks beat Sixers 93-81". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. 
  34. "Carter-Williams leads 76ers past Timberwolves 103-94". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. January 30, 2015. 
  35. "World at USA – February 13, 2015". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. February 13, 2015. 
  36. "Stuckey scores 30 off bench, Pacers beat Sixers 106-95". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. February 20, 2015. 
  37. Bracy, Aaron (February 27, 2015). "Nerlens Noel leads 76ers past Wizards, 89-81". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. 
  38. "On the Beat: Noel, Stauskas, Embiid Options Selected". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. October 30, 2015. 
  39. "Sixers surprise Kings for 2nd win in 3 games". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. December 30, 2015. 
  40. "Devin Booker replaces Nerlens Noel in Rising Stars Challenge". ESPN. February 11, 2016. 
  41. Pompey, Keith (October 22, 2016). "Noel expected to miss around 3-5 weeks after Monday's surgery". 
  42. "Sixers Assign Nerlens Noel To Delaware 87ers". November 30, 2016. 
  43. "Noel Assigned to Sevens". December 2, 2016. 
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 "Nerlens Noel out of Sixers regular rotation". 
  46. Pompey, Keith. "Noel 'definitely satisfied' with role on Sixers". 
  47. "Without Embiid, 76ers upset Griffin and Clippers, 121-110". January 24, 2017. 
  48. "Mavericks acquire Nerlens Noel from 76ers". February 23, 2017. 
  49. "Barnes, Nowitzki lead Mavericks past Pelicans 96-83". February 25, 2017. 
  50. "Curry, Noel lead retooled Mavericks past Grizzlies 104-100". March 3, 2017. 
  51. 51.0 51.1 Haynes, Chris (August 26, 2017). "Nerlens Noel signs 1-year offer to remain with Mavericks". 
  52. "2016-2017 Dallas Mavericks Transactions History". 
  53. "Mavs sign center Nerlens Noel". August 28, 2017. 
  54. "Hawks, Schroder spoil Smith's debut, top Mavericks 117-111". October 18, 2017. 
  55. Barnewall, Chris (December 8, 2017). "Mavericks big man Nerlens Noel has thumb surgery; no timetable for return". 
  56. "Westbrook scores 30, Thunder beat Mavericks 111-110 in OT". February 28, 2018. 
  57. "Ferrell, Nowitzki lead Mavericks to 118-107 win over Nuggets". March 6, 2018. 
  58. "Mavericks' Nerlens Noel, Jazz's Thabo Sefolosha suspended for violating anti-drug program". April 3, 2018. 
  59. "Thunder Signs Nerlens Noel". July 6, 2018. 
  60. "Nerlens Noel joining Thunder on two-year minimum deal, sources say". July 2, 2018. 
  61. "Westbrook, George lead Thunder past Suns for 1st win". October 28, 2018. 
  62. "Westbrook rebounds with triple-double as Thunder beat Mavs". December 31, 2018. 
  63. "Saunders wins 1st game, T'Wolves top Thunder 119-117". January 8, 2019. 
  64. "Kuzma scores 32 as Lakers top Thunder in OT without LeBron". January 17, 2019. 
  65. "Knicks Sign Nerlens Noel". November 26, 2020. 
  66. Joyce, Greg (November 21, 2020). "Knicks sign center Nerlens Noel to one-year, $5 million deal". 
  67. "Knicks Re-Sign Nerlens Noel". August 11, 2021. 
  68. Bontemps, Tim (August 2, 2021). "New York Knicks agree to re-sign Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, per sources; also add Evan Fournier, agent says". 
  69. 69.0 69.1 Tipton, Jerry (December 26, 2012). "Big brothers, both Division I football players, instilled toughness in Kentucky's Noel".