Nerlens Noel did not play in the Dallas Mavericks’ 111-104 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday because of a coach’s decision.
Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said the matchup against the Cavs made it difficult for traditional centers to play and Salah Mejri earned playing time over Noel.
“Look, minutes have to be earned,” Carlisle said. “At this point, if it’s between him and Salah, Salah has earned the minutes. There’s no doghouse here. There just isn’t. It’s pretty simple: You compete, and if you earn minutes, you get minutes. And you’ve got to compete to keep them, because it’s a competitive situation.”
Carlisle was especially concerned about Noel and the matchup against the Cav’s perimeter-shooting center Kevin Love.
However, Noel was not frustrated with the lack of playing time.
“I’m good, I’m good,” Noel said. “I‘m a very self-confident player. I know I can go in there and change games. When my number is called, I’ll do just that and help some winning efforts. That’s all my play style is about, is just winning. When I’m called on, I’ll bring my winning effort.”
Noel signed a one-year, $4.1 million qualifying offer with the Mavs this offseason after turning down a four-year $70 million contract.