Allen knows Noel can make difference in paint

Allen knows Noel can make difference in paint

July 27, 2013, 10:00 am
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Last season, the Sixers were definitely lean at the center position. Andrew Bynum never played a game, leaving Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen to man the middle -- serviceable backups but not the preferred starter in either case.

Hawes made 40 starts, averaged 11 points, 7.2 rebounds and played 27 minutes a night. Allen was in the starting lineup 37 times. He averaged 5.8 points and five rebounds, playing 21 minutes per game.

Hawes' rebounding average ranked 14th among NBA centers last year, a statistic that would surprise many. Hawes’ 1.4 blocks per game also ranked ninth at his position.

However, basketball fans like big men who can dominate. They see a 7-footer and they expect statistics that are equally as large.

The franchise hopes down the road that Nerlens Noel is that kind of game-changer and the Kentucky product already has a fan in Allen.

“We have the same agent, but in college he was a great shot blocker. He can get up and down the floor,” Allen said of the Noel, who averaged 4.4 blocks per game during his lone season in college. “A rim-protector can do a lot. We haven’t had that the last couple years here. I used to be one in high school but that was facing 6-3 kids back then. It will be great for us.”

Noel is 6-foot-11 but weighs just 219 pounds. It stands to reason that the Sixers' rookie will need to add bulk in order to survive the rigors of playing in the low post in the NBA.

Allen, heading into his third NBA season, is minus two inches and plus 36 pounds on his rookie teammate. But Allen is not ready to say Noel needs to get bigger in order to reach his full potential.

“What he lacks in size he makes up for in length,” Allen said of Noel. “He’s real athletic, so we will have to see how he does.”

We will have to see how Allen does as well. Critics found Allen’s second NBA season to be a disappointment in comparison to his 2012 postseason performance in which he more than held his own against Kevin Garnett in a seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“I have just been working out,” Allen said of his offseason. “I have taken a vacation here and there, but mostly I have been in the gym.

“They said we (Sixers) are doing a rebuilding process. Now all our trust is in Sam Hinkie, with the whole coaching search and things like that. We are behind him 100 percent.”

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