For the past few months, the Philadelphia 76ers have been adamant about trading away either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, but they’ve been unsuccessful. In a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, he stated how Philly wants to part with one of their young studs because their talents don’t complement each other.
The Sixers are certainly not lacking big men and their roster saw the addition of one more yesterday when Philadelphia signed veteran Elton Brand. Alongside Brand, Noel, and Okafor, there are Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons who are all set to make their NBA debuts this season.
Believing that Okafor and Noel aren’t complementary is spot on for Philadelphia, but it’ll be hard to part with either of them because both have the potential to impact the organization.
In Noel, the Sixers have a long, lanky, and athletic center which causes terror on the defensive end but lacks a polished offensive game; Okafor is the exact opposite. The former Duke center is a monster in the low post and, arguably, has one of the best post games in the league–defensively, however, he hardly makes an impact.
Moving Okafor as opposed to Noel is the better choice for two reasons, Okafor has more trade value and he doesn’t fit the roster as well as Noel does.
Despite getting almost 18 points a night from Jah, Embiid and Simmons will command the ball a lot this year, and Okafor and Embiid both play the same style. Embiid has been working with his trainer, Drew Hanlen, and has looked exceptional–although he’s operating against air in the videos, his technique looks great.
The two look to be relatively equal offensively, but Embiid is a far better defender and a more explosive athlete than Okafor, and that’s why it makes sense to hold on to Noel.
While Noel doesn’t have the one-on-one game of an Okafor or Embiid, he’s able to go for double digits just from running the floor and cleaning up the offensive glass. With Simmons being the primary ball handler in Brett Brown’s offense, his remarkable vision will see when Noel gets behind the defense, which will lead to many lobs in the city of Brotherly Love.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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