OKC Thunder is the perfect rehab centre for Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel OKC Thunder Player Preview (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nerlens Noel OKC Thunder Player Preview (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 7: Here, Nerlens Noel #3 of the Dallas Mavericks dunks against the Washington Wizards. On November 7, 2017 at Capital One Arena in Washington, (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Thinking about the team:

Turning the focus back to the team, there’s a Warrior-sized reason why Noel could be the bargain of the season.

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Think back to 2016, when the Thunder did what no one else in the league had done – dictate the Warrior’s lineups. Except the Thunder did it twice.

When Billy Donovan saw fit, he went subatomic against the Warriors. The combination of Westbrook, Dion Waiters, Andre Roberson, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka out-ran, out-jumped and out-stretched the Death Lineup.

When Donovan needed to, he rolled out the twin rebounding terrors of Adams and Enes Kanter, who famously collected back over 50 percent of the team’s misses.

I’m not saying Nerlens Noel will come anywhere close to offering the same quality needed to unlock the Warriors. But, my point is that Noel’s baseline secures the fundamentals for the Thunder, and his potential points exactly to the same magic formula Donovan discovered two years ago.

Noel’s penchant for chasing defensive rebounds is the perfect complement to Adams’ willingness to scrape for box outs. Meanwhile, a lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, George, Grant and Noel would easily be the league’s stretchiest lineup since the 2016 Thunder.

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I’ll be the first to preach caution, especially when it comes to Presti’s lottery revival projects. But, if there’s one free agent signing apart from PG13 with the potential to bring the OKC Thunder to the next level, I think Nerlens Noel could be it.