New York Knicks big man Nerlens Noel is looking to add to his game this upcoming season.
With the first day of training camp in the books, reporters got to speak to the players about their offseasons and what areas of their game they’ve worked on with their trainers.
New York Knicks: Nerlens Noel working on his shooting
SNY’s Ian Begley reported that the Knicks “Asked him to work on the corner three in the offseason and make it a shot that he can take in a game.” Noel said that shooting from the perimeter is one of the things he worked on in the offseason.
Nerlens has made name for himself in the NBA with tenacious defense. A savvy rim-protector, what Noel lacks in athleticism and strength he makes up for in technique and instinct.
When Mitchell Robinson went down with a season-ending injury last season, it was Noel who stepped into the starting center role and received heavy minutes.
There aren’t many backup centers that could have filled in as admirably as Noel did. He led the entire NBA in defensive box plus/minus. The top-5 were Nerlens Noel, Draymond Green, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, and Rudy Gobert.
Where Noel needs to make strides is on the offensive side of the ball.
Nerlens Noel doesn’t need to be any sort of major contributor on offense, but a little can go a long way as a complementary piece.
There are countless examples of big men developing 3-point shots six, seven, eight years into their NBA career. Noel’s solid free throw percentages of 75 percent in 2019 and 71 percent in 2020 could be positive indicators that there is potential for him to be able to knock down open threes.
For centers like Noel, they don’t need to be hyper-efficient. Myles Turner, who is constantly talked about as a roster upgrade that the New York Knicks should look into, is praised for his “floor-stretching”. Myles Turner hit just over one 3-pointer per game last season at a 33.5 percent clip on what were almost all entirely catch-and-shoot attempts. Again, it doesn’t take much.
It remains to be seen if this added wrinkle in Noel’s game can truly be developed, but it will be something to watch for when he takes the court this season.