With the 2016 NBA draft a little over a month away, rumors are swirling around the Philadelphia 76ers and their plans for the No. 1 overall selection. While reports have recently come out speculating that the 76ers could trade the top pick in the draft, it is likely that they are going to hold on to it and select LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons.
In adding Simmons, the 76ers are going to have a surplus of big men in their frontcourt. While talented big men are hard to come by in today’s NBA, the 76ers may actually have a legitimate problem in giving them all enough playing time. Since the 76ers have focused their attention on their frontcourt in recent years, they are severely lacking talent at the guard position. While 76ers center Jahlil Okafor had a solid rookie season, the latest rumors believe that he could be traded to the Boston Celtics for the No. 3 overall draft pick.
— NESN (@NESN) May 19, 2016
As CSN Philly reports, numerous sources around the league believe that an Okafor trade to the Celtics makes perfect sense for both teams. While sending a young and talented big man to a division rival has to be a difficult decision for the 76ers, it could pay off in the end. Tim Welsh of CSN New England broke down the positives of such a trade for both teams.
“If I’m the Celtics I would get on the phone with the Colangelos in Philadelphia daily. It’s well known that they love Kris Dunn. They need a great guard. Kris Dunn is going to be that. Maybe a Dwyane Wade, maybe a John Wall. Maybe not that good but I think he’s going to be an All-Star guard, especially if he learns how to shoot. He’s gotten better over the years. They have a plethora of bigs. They can get Simmons at No. 1 and send Okafor to Boston for No. 3 and take Dunn.”
While it is possible that the 76ers could select Kris Dunn with the No. 3 overall pick, they would have the luxury of being able to take any player outside of Simmons and Duke Blue Devils forward Brandon Ingram. Even though this is viewed as a two-player draft, there is still an abundance of solid talent outside of the first two picks. Regardless, point guard is such a difficult position to fill in the NBA, and there is a chance that Dunn could eventually develop into a star.
While Dunn is not yet a great shooter, he would have the luxury of being able to develop a more reliable shot with the 76ers. If the 76ers decided to trade Okafor, they would still have an abundance of big men that could flourish with a great facilitator. While Nerlens Noel is not yet a great offensive player, he did see an increase in scoring when the 76ers had reliable play at the point. Simmons’ shot is not yet where it needs to be, but he excels at scoring around the basket.
Rumor: the Boston Celtics are considering trading the No. 3 pick to the 76ers for Jahlil Okafor. pic.twitter.com/e6hszRXLpr
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) May 21, 2016
While the 76ers’ first-round draft pick in 2014, Joel Embiid, has not yet played a game, he is expected to finally be healthy for the 2016-2017 season. While injuries are going to be a concern for Embiid moving forward, he has all of the potential in the world to become a star in the NBA. In addition to growing to a height of 7-foot-2, Embiid has also shown an unusual amount of polish on his shot. There is also a chance that Dario Saric leaves his team in Turkey and joins the 76ers this season, which is yet another potential offensive weapon.
As Forbes notes, Dunn is the best point guard prospect in the draft, and his true strength is setting up his teammates.
“He’s absolutely lights out when it comes to facilitating for teammates, but has a lot of upside as a scorer as well.”
For the Celtics, the trade is really a no-brainer. While Okafor has his deficiencies, he has an extremely polished offensive game for his age. And seeing how difficult it is to find a big man, a trade with the 76ers is their best chance to land one.
NBA draft rumors will continue to come out regarding the Philadelphia 76ers and the possibility that they will trade Jahlil Okafor to the Boston Celtics for the No. 3 overall pick. While trades like that are fairly rare in the NBA, it is a deal that would potentially benefit both teams.
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