Noel on return: 'Going to be something special'

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Noel on return: 'Going to be something special'

The Sixers are in a strong position to add key pieces to their rebuilding roster with the Nos. 3 and 10 picks in the first round of next week's NBA draft.

The team's front office is doing all of its homework on which players to take with the club's seven total picks, particularly now that center Joel Embiid's injury has likely changed things at the very top of the draft.

Players currently on the roster are also interested in which new faces will be joining the fold, but first and foremost the attention is on taking care of their own craft. That's especially the case for Nerlens Noel, the No. 6 pick a season ago, who is sharpening his game to finally take the court as a Sixer when the team opens up summer league action next month.

"When I step back on that court it's really going to be something special," Noel said at a youth basketball camp in Lexington, Kentucky. "I've been 100 percent for a while now. I've been working on everything, every part of my game. Just continuing to get better, add size and strength and just continue to improve my game."

Noel has reason to be eager to get on the floor after missing the entire 2013-14 season while rehabbing a torn left ACL suffered during his lone season at the University of Kentucky. The time was also spent reconfiguring the 20-year-old center's shot under the tutelage of Sixers head coach Brett Brown and getting acclimated to NBA life.

Still, Noel explained there is no replacement for taking part in actual live games.

"Probably been the toughest part of my life," he said. "Just not being able to play the game I love. Just coming back from this I've learned not to take things for granted."

Noel will finally get the first chance to start putting his injury behind him when the Sixers begin play in the Orlando Pro Summer League on July 5 against the host Magic.

Report: Sixers interested in reunion with Andre Iguodala

Report: Sixers interested in reunion with Andre Iguodala

Fresh off his latest NBA Finals victory, two-time champ Andre Iguodala could end up back in Philly.

The Sixers are one of seven teams interested in prying the 2015 NBA Finals MVP away from the Warriors, according to an ESPN report.

Iguodala averaged 7.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 26.3 minutes a game for the reigning champs. He scored 20 points in the series clincher in Game 5. 

Since joining Golden State, Iguodala has taken a lesser role, unlike his days with the Sixers. Back in February, Iguodala had some glowing things to say about one of the Sixers' franchise cornerstones, Joel Embiid. 

"I'm a big fan of his," Iguodala said following a Warriors' 119-108 win over the Sixers. "I think he has a crazy upside. I don't even think people realize how good he really is."

Next season, the Sixers will add 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz to that mix. With the young foundation in place and the money the Sixers could throw at him, Iguodala could consider coming back to the place where his NBA career started.

Iguodala could offer the Sixers two valuable things: defense and veteran leadership. With guard Jerryd Bayless being the only player on the current roster with five years of NBA experience, the Sixers could use a player with Iguodala's resume.

Iguodala, 33, has now played in 109 career postseason games. He's also been durable, having played at least 62 games in each of his 13 NBA seasons. 

"As long as they keep having good intentions," Iguodala said when asked if he thought the Sixers were on the right track. "As long as [Embiid] continues to improve and his confidence goes higher and higher — his potential is amazing — and they get the right guys around him, and they've already started that, so sky's the limit."

Iguodala was originally drafted ninth overall by the Sixers back in 2004 out of Arizona. He averaged 15.3 points in 615 games and made one All-Star appearance in his eight seasons with the Sixers.

Robert Covington finishes 4th in Defensive Player of the Year voting

Robert Covington finishes 4th in Defensive Player of the Year voting

Draymond Green. Rudy Gobert. Kawhi Leonard.

Robert Covington.

Covingon placed fourth in the voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, though he wasn't even close to the top three.

Green, who won the award Monday night, received 73 of 100 first-place votes and had 434 voting points.

Gobert was next with 16 first-place votes and 269 points, followed by Leonard with 11 first-place votes and 182 points.

Covington was the only other player in the NBA to receive both a second- and third-place vote, giving him a total of four voting points. That was one more than LeBron James, Hassan Whiteside and Andre Roberson. 

Both writers who voted for Covington are international: Antoni Daimel of Moviestar+ in Spain and Flavio Tranquillo of Sky Italia. European hoops heads must love them some RoCo.

After a slow start, Covington had a breakout 2016-17 season, offensive and defensively. His reputation has grown substantially over the last year and he's now considered one of the better three-and-D players in the NBA and a solid fit alongside the Sixers' young nucleus.