Nerlens Noel is starting to come around.
His jump hook and moves to the basket look crisper. The 76ers rookie also has a plan once he gets the ball on the block.
"Early in the season, I'd just get it and go," Noel said Wednesday after practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "That was my mistake. I was going too fast.
"Now I think I've slowed down. I'm really starting to take more hits with my first move, then that leads to a counter move. The game just grows from there."
The 6-foot-11, 217-pounder scored a career-high 19 points Monday in a 105-87 loss to the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center. He made 9 of 12 shots and finished with eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks.
But the true test will come Friday in a home game against the Charlotte Hornets. Consistency has not been Noel's strong suit.
He had solid performances in back-to-back games against the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers last month. Starting Dec. 3, Noel also strung together four straight good efforts against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons, and Atlanta Hawks.
But those games were the exception.
Noel, 20, had not played consistently in his other 14 games before Monday night. He is averaging 8.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.4 blocks.
"Consistency is the No. 1 thing a person wants to depend on - [somebody who] shows up every night and takes care of business," Noel said. "As the season goes on, I'll definitely look to string games along and continue to play at that high level."
Noel's best offensive weapon has been a floater. His turn-and-face-the-basket speed separates him from most towering post players. Yet he mostly gets by on athleticism instead of a go-to move.
Sixers coach Brett Brown expects Noel to develop "more of a smorgasbord" of moves instead of a go-to one.
"Pound, pound, jump hook - he can get away with that," Brown said. "You know, 17-footers at this stage, you are probably not going to want to set a play up to go win a game by him doing that.
"But if he's open, I'm encouraging him to shoot that. I think him turning and facing and going at people right now is his best strength."
Noel tries to emulate his favorite players, Kevin Garnett of the Brooklyn Nets and Amar'e Stoudemire of the Knicks. Some might argue that he should try to copy Tyson Chandler of the Dallas Mavericks or Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls, players he seems to compare to better.
"Is that the best move? Who knows," Brown said of Noel's approach. "Is it something that's going to influence me? Not really. I feel like I have a responsibility to grow stuff and encourage stuff. Then I'll ultimately make decisions and shrink it."
Furkan Aldemir sat out the end of practice with a sore right heel. The power forward, who signed with the Sixers on Monday, said he was hurt in his native country of Turkey. Brown expects him to play Friday.