As a Sixers fan, I have been watching some bad basketball over the past few seasons. In result of this bad play, the Sixers have put themselves in the top 3 of the draft the past three years. In 2014, they chose Joel Embiid, who has yet to see the floor. In 2015, they chose another big man in Jahlil Okafor, who had himself a stellar rookie season by putting up monster numbers and is looking to be a star in this league for years to come. In 2016, the draft results fell their way as they are able to pick first overall and choose the player they want to put on this team. With the whole tanking situation that has engulfed Philadelphia basketball over the past few seasons, there comes a lot of risk from this. The biggest risk is that the Sixers may not get the player that they want.
That is exactly what happened.
In 2014, the Sixers were looking to be a lock for young star Andrew Wiggins at the third pick. It was supposed to be Joel Embiid going first to Cleveland, Parker second to Miluawkee, and Wiggins third to Philadelphia. Well, once more injury news came out about Embiid, the Cavaliers got cold feet and chose Wiggins. That proved to be the best choice as the Sixers are still waiting to see Embiid hit the floor for the first time in his career. Fast forward to 2015, and the results still were the same. The Sixers were high on guard D’Angelo Russell throughout the spring, and just days before the draft started, the Lakers were really high on Russell. As a result, the Sixers needed to take the best player available, and that was another big man in Jahlil Okafor.
Now, as we are in 2016, the Sixers finally get the pick they wanted, but it’s almost too little too late.
Getting the first pick is great and all signs seem to point in Simmons going first overall to the Sixers. But because of the tanking risk that has been taken, the Sixers have left themselves in a predicament that can really change the future of this franchise.
The Sixers are in a tough spot because if they draft Simmons they will just have too many big men on the roster and it seems like one will have to be dealt to make this roster just more suitable to today’s NBA.
With that being said, which young star do the Sixers regretfully deal? The reason I say it like that is because the Sixers definitely do not want to get rid of any of the stars they have put in place for the future. You have to make the decision that will have the greatest return for your team.
Stories have been reported that the team prefers to trade Jahlil Okafor over Nerlens Noel. Sadly, that may have to be the decision the team goes with. When it comes to Nerlens versus, Jahlil, it is what you prefer in a big man. Nerlens is a force defensively that will even improve more on the defensive end, but more importantly on the offensive end. Nerlens can turn into something special later down the road if he keeps up his defensive ability and improves his offense just a little bit more. He is already a great pick and roll player which has become a staple in the offensive game of big men in the 2016 NBA. He has the ability to run the floor in transition on both offense and defense and can defend multiple positions.
Jahlil Okafor is one of the more offensively gifted players we have seen in a long time. His footwork and his ability to create his own shots are already among the best of big men in the NBA. He is only 19, so the ceiling is so high for him. His lack of defensive ability is one that can hamper him and with the way the game is going today, that is why the Sixers see Okafor as the best trade piece. His value is the highest of any big man on the team, and because he is a little slower, the Sixers feel that they can progress in today’s NBA a lot quicker with Noel than Okafor. It is really scary to think of what Jahlil could be with a little more guard help around him, but if Nerlens gets even better guard play down the road, his ability on both sides of the floor could really turn into something special as well.
So, it is a pick your poison for the Sixers. Having Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid most likely won’t work. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor has already proven that it can’t work, at least for right now. Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid? Now that could be something for the future. It all obviously stems on the fact of Embiid being healthy. That is a risk the Sixers should be willing to take because in order to be great in this league, you have to take risks.