Nerlens Noel on Ben Wallace
"I want to be back in the Defensive Player of the Year contention, I want to bring that grit to Detroit that I know that I have. You know, there’s a reason I can’t wear no. 3. That’s a player that I grew up really watching his game and watching their championship runs here in Detroit, so I want to bring that grit here and be that defensive player first."
After being acquired from the New York Knicks, many have wondered and still do wonder what role Noel will fill in Detroit. Noel’s media day quote helps explain where he sees himself fitting into the roster, being that primary defensive first guy, as well as serving as a veteran presence to his younger frontcourt teammates in Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart.
Also, I loved Noel alluding to Ben Wallace as why he can’t wear his normal no. 3 in Detroit. This showed me that Noel understands what it’s taken to be successful as a player and a team in Detroit in the past, and how he can personally relate to this by bringing his ‘grit’ to the organization.
Studying Ben Wallace’s game as a primary rim protector and defender isn’t a bad idea for the new Piston, and I’m hoping that Noel finds a spot in the rotation to help address some of the team’s rim protection issues that caused a struggle last season.