Okafor or Embiid or Noel?
The 76ers frontcourt looks more crowded than ever with Saric coming over, and with a D-League quality backcourt, the ‘6ers are looking to move on from at least one of their young big, in an effort to structure a more well-rounded roster. The million dollar question is: who should they part with?
Okafor? Jahlil has shown to be a very talented back-to-the-basket scorer in the mold of an Al Jefferson. However, he is an average rebounder at best, is a black hole offensively, and is a terrible interior defender. Just look at how Big Al’s career has panned out, and I see Okafor’s career following a similar route – being a top offensive option on mediocre teams. In this era of pace and space, where does Okafor fit? He doesn’t contribute to ball movement and doesn’t have much range on his jumper. In this era, teams are wanting bigs that either can defend the rim, rebound/provide hustle, or stretch the floor (with back-to-the-basket scoring being an added plus if a big can offer at least one of the three mentioned), and Jahlil doesn’t offer any of these things. If the C’s offer Philly their 3rd pick in this year’s draft for Okafor, I don’t see why the 76ers don’t take it.
Noel? Nerlens has been the big that has been most involved in trade talks as of late. A hot rumor on the mill right now is a potential deal involving Noel for Teague. Not sure why the Hawks are looking to move on from Teague, though. Teague, to me, is better than Schröder, which makes this move puzzling, unless the Hawks are looking to blow things up and rebuild. Noel is a talented, long and athletic big who excels on the defensive end. What makes Noel so attractive is that he fits the new mold of defensive bigs who can switch on to guards and he has the length and quickness to be effective at this. His offensive game has improved, but he has very little stretch-the-floor ability, which has some teams preferring him at the 5-spot, despite his lack of strength. In this way, he is sort of a tweener. With Saric a more of a power forward as well and with Ben Simmons pretty much locked in as a future Sixer, who – out of Saric and Noel – would the ‘6ers want to come off the bench? The fit with Noel, who can’t stretch the floor, and Simmons on the offensive end is questionable, especially with the current amount of bigs on their roster.
Embiid? Unloading Embiid is the least likely option of the three. Embiid really has no trade value right now, which is obvious since he hasn’t played in a single game yet. He is, however, the most talented of the three. He has legitimate two-way potential with a ceiling that approaches Hakeem Olajuwon – just watch his tape at Kansas if you don’t believe me. The problem? He hasn’t been healthy, and bigs with foot troubles are problems that many GMs aren’t willing to take on.
Conclusion: Noel seems like the most likely out of the three to be traded, but the 76ers should cover all their bases, especially if they can get a top-5 pick for Okafor.