The uncertainty is palpable. There’s no denying things could change in a matter of days. Yet, throughout it all, Nerlens Noel stays characteristically cool. 

“I can always keep myself at peace by knowing I’m good.”

The Philadelphia 76ers center and 6th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft has developed into a devastating force on the defensive end of the floor. After overcoming an ACL injury he suffered while in college at Kentucky, he made the All-Rookie First team in 2015. He then followed that up by achieving the milestone of becoming one of only three players in the NBA to record 100 blocks, 100 steals, and 100 rebounds this past season. Yet, due to Philadelphia’s glut of young centers, Noel’s 2017 free agency, and the success and potential that make him attractive to other teams, the uncertainty remains. 

But Noel, sitting on his South Philly rooftop in jogger pants, snakeskin Jordan 4s, and his signature flat-top haircut, is literally looking at the world through rose-colored (Cartier) glasses.

“I worked this hard to get to where I’m at for a reason,” he says.  “I need to continue to work to get to where I need to be, but you just gotta always feel that you’ve worked this hard for a reason. With God’s blessing things will always pan out.”

It certainly looks like he’s been working. Today’s Nerlens Noel is visibly bigger than the kid who was still getting accustomed to nightly NBA sumo matches for rebounds with other seven-footers. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work this offseason,” he says. "I just completed the sixth week of my offseason training. I put on about 10 pounds now."