The Philadelphia 76ers seem to be at last coming out on the other side of Sam Hinkie’s famed process.
They are still one of the worst teams in the league, but their future is clear. If the Hinkie-obsessed big man Joel Embiid can stay healthy, it’s clear he is a superstar in the making. They still have a large inventory of draft picks, some interesting young role players, and the awaited return of 2016 number one overall pick Ben Simmons.
But there is still plenty to be sorted out. Most of their talent is contained to their frontcourt, where Embiid and Simmons will look to take up most of the minutes in the future.
That leaves lottery picks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor alienated and lacking a role. They could both be shipped out of Philly by the end of the season, and it appears Noel will be first to go.
Noel has hinted he would like to play elsewhere when he does return, and the Sixers are attempting to accommodate him. He is part of a crowded frontcourt that includes second-year center Jahlil Okafor and rookie Joel Embiid.
“Several teams, including Portland, have recently held discussions with the Sixers about Noel.”
This seems like a perfect trade marriage. Noel will get playing time — likely a starting role — with actual talent around him and professional guard play.
The Blazers get a low-usage, quality defensive big they can rely on who has the chance to significantly improve in the future.
It isn’t really clear if Noel is going to be a high-caliber NBA player. But he is young and full of potential. The Blazers would probably be buying low also, given that everyone knows Noel wants out.