With the NBA trade deadline for the 2015-2016 season in the rearview mirror, rumors are heating up regarding the moves that the Philadelphia 76ers will be making over the summer. As the worst team in the NBA, the 76ers have a lot of work to do on the personnel front. While it may currently seem unlikely, the latest rumors have the team trading rookie center Jahlil Okafor over the summer.
With a record of 9-64, the Philadelphia 76ers are exactly where they want to be. In today’s NBA, acquiring high draft picks is the fastest way to turn around a franchise, and the 76ers have done an excellent job of stockpiling picks. Once again, the 76ers are going to have one of the best chances to win the NBA draft lottery. While they have not won the lottery in recent years, they have been able to add a few big men with their first-round selections. Regardless, the team’s big men have proven that they do not fit together, and moving one of them may be in the team’s best interest.
— MSN Sports (@MSNSports) March 27, 2016
While Joel Embiid has not yet played a game for the 76ers, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor have worked together. It has not been a total disaster, but it is obvious that the team is not at its best when Noel and Okafor are on the floor at the same time. With Embiid set to return next year, more problems are going to be created. Okafor and Embiid are actually viewed as a worse pairing than Okafor and Noel.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Okafor was first rumored to be on the trading block in January. While he was not moved, reports came out that the 76ers almost traded him to the Boston Celtics. With Okafor now out for the season, it is unlikely that the 76ers’ opinion on Okafor has changed dramatically. He is already a great offensive player, but his defense and rebounding leave a lot to be desired.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the team is going to have to move one of their young big men if they wish to maximize their potential.
“The 20-year-old had season-ending arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The injury ultimately cost the third overall pick the final 23 games of the season, considering he hasn’t played since Feb. 28. Before that, the struggles of Okafor and Nerlens Noel to co-exist as Twin Towers were well-documented. Both players are better suited to playing center. The problem for Okafor has been that the team is more successful with Noel at center. There was even a stretch when Okafor was often on the bench late in games. And that’s why the team had moved Okafor to power forward before his injury. Similar players, Okafor and Embiid are an unlikely pairing. They are both liabilities guarding athletic power forwards and chasing stretch fours on the perimeter. So the belief is that the Sixers may try to move Okafor this summer if Embiid is healthy. If he isn’t, they have to decide between Okafor and Noel.”
It is all going to come down to Embiid’s health. RealGM reports that Embiid is going to be held out of the team’s Summer League, but he is apparently going to be ready for the start of the season. After missing two years, the 76ers would be taking a huge risk in counting on Embiid.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) March 23, 2016
While Jahlil Okafor has his flaws, he has at least been able to get on the floor for the team. He has also proven that he has an extremely polished offensive game for a rookie. Still only 20-years-old, Okafor could very well develop a better defensive game. He could also improve his rebounding, which is an area of his game that is severely lacking at this point.
With the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2015-2016 season almost over, rumors are going to continue to speculate their offseason moves. While Jahlil Okafor had a solid rookie campaign, he may be the odd man out in Philadelphia’s collection of young big men.
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