One of the more annoying things about the Sixers season this year was the Nerlens Noel trade. I admit that I am biased on this issue. I thought that Noel was not given enough of a chance to fit into the Sixers future. And I admit that there were arguments that he should have been traded. It was the trade details that really, really smelled bad. From Liberty Ballers
In the immediate aftermath, (GM) Colangelo and the Sixers’ PR staff trade to sell the trade to fans as having bought the team a first round pick. Even a cursory inspection of the terms of the agreement showed that assertion to be laughable; Dallas had a nearly zero-percent chance of climbing into the playoffs and eclipsing the 18th pick in the draft, and their failure to do so meant Colangelo had merely secured two second round draft picks.
That’s right. The so-called first round pick that the Sixers got for Noel, the pick that Colangelo trumpeted as a victory was in fact, a PR stunt. A cheap trick. Sure the Sixers got the rights to the Mavs first round pick — but it was top 18 protected. That insults our intelligence.
Of course, the Sixers also got Justin Anderson. Was Anderson and a few second round picks worth giving up Noel?` One thing that you can say about Anderson is that he tries. He puts out effort. Unfortunately, he has serious shortcomings as well, and they appear to be mental. The due may not be able to handle the complexities of the NBA game. And btw, he can’t shoot from the outside.
So all we can hope for is that Anderson is practicing his jumper this summer and watching a lot of film. If he doesn’t transform into a different player, he will be gone. And that means it was Noel for 2 second round picks.
That sucks. But even worse, it tells us that Bryan Colangelo does not have a lot of respect for the Sixers fan base. And that sucks too.
The NBA playoffs are in their first round of matchups, and so one does not expect too much. There have been a few surprises — mainly the Bulls smacking the Celtics to take a commanding lead in their matchup.
But last night, there was bigger news. LeBron James signaled that he is still capable of taking over a game. The Cavs were down by a huge margin in the third quarter to the Pacers. And then LeBron started his drive. Wow! This series is essentially over.
There is great highlight video at this link. It is a must-watch for NBA fans. I t suggests that the Cavs are still a force in the east — the main force. And they are likely to meet the Warriors yet again in the finals. That should be fun to watch.
The conventional wisdom is that Nik Stauskas has not lived up to his potential in the NBA. The Kings picked him in the top ten because they thought he would be a bigger Seth Curry.
Well, he has not been a bigger Seth Curry. His outside shot has been erratic and he was not impacting games in other ways. Ouch! The Kings gave up on him and then he had a mediocre season with the Sixers. Some said that he had not proved that he belongs in the NBA.
Hmmm … just the type of player that would benefit from an expert in player development (think Sixer coach Brett Brown)? Apparently so. After an improved season, folks now say that Nik is coming around. He is not yet a dominant player. But he is emerging as a useful role player – a player who can space the floor, and as such, a perfect fit with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Good for Nik — -and good for Brett! We are beginning to see why Brett may be the Sixers secret weapon.
It is time to look at the draft. We don’t know yet where the Sixers will pick. that will be determined on May 16. The Draft will then take place on Jun 22.
The Sixers are not likely to pick first. With the fourth worst record in the league, three other teams will get more ping pong balls than them. But what if they do? Or what if they can trade up?
Liberty Ballers says go for Markelle Fultz. They make a strong case that getting Fultz would be the ultimate Sixer dream come true.
Fultz enters draft season as perhaps the most gifted pick and roll ball handler since Kyrie Irving. He sports a tight, slithery handle that allows him to get to his spots on the floor with ease, and he routinely splits double teams. With his shake and creativity, he’s an incredibly difficult driver to bottle up, especially with a two-on-one advantage.
Check out the link for some very cool Fultz videos.
Go for it!
We are now in a new era. Tanking is over. The team has two anchors – JoJo and Ben. Nothing else matters.
Next season, the ball will be in JoJo’s and Ben’s hands a lot. All of the other Sixer players will need to adjust to that. Which means three things
- upgrade your shot from the 3 or sit on the bench
- learn to move without the ball or sit on the bench
- bulk up to defend and rebound or sit on the bench
Here is a more in-depth look at that list of challenge.s.
It will be very interesting to see which players meet the challenge. It is time to level up.
I admit that I am biased. At the same time, I think there are good reasons why Joel Embiid — a rookie who only played in 31 games this season — should be named rookie of the year.
This video sums it up.
Keep in mind that not only did Embiid only pay in 31 games, he played with minute restrictions in those games. All in all, he only played in around half of those games. Despite that, his stats for those games are way better than any other rookie. They would be awesome if he had played the whole time. In other words, he was an absolute beast on the court. Enough said.
What do you think?
Thankfully, the regular Sixers season has finally come to an end! Out of loyalty, and against my better judgment, I caught the last ten minutes of their last game against the Knicks. Ouch! Both teams were dreadful.
The good news is that the Sixers lost and the Magic won. That means that the Sixers have broken the tie with the Magic in the race for more ping-pong balls in the draft. The Sixers will have the fourth most, after the Nets, Suns, and Lakers. The Magic will have the fifth most.
Things now get interesting. At 3, the Lakers have a 50&50 shot of falling out of the top three teams to pick. And if they fall out of the top 3, the Sixers get their pick. That could mean 2 Sixer picks in the top 5. That would be very cool.
One other thing. The Nets will get the most ping-pong balls, meaning they have the best chance to draft first. But their pick goes to the Celtics. So let’s assume the Celtics get to pick first. The top two prospects are both point guards – and the Celtics definitely do not need a point guard. They may be in the mood to trade down. And the Sixers might be in a good position to do a trade deal with them to get Markelle Fultz.
Of course, the Sixers may not need a point guard either. Brett Brown has said again that he wants Ben Simmons to play that position next year. Brett has a point – Ben wants the ball in his hands and he is an amazing passer. His 6’10” size may cause a few issues on defense, but it may be more of a challenge for other teams to deal with him on offense. Think back to Magic Johnson.
Meanwhile, this was probably the last “throwaway” season for the Sixers. Expectations for next season are HUGE. They will at least need to make the playoffs. The pressure is on to get at least that far. That will make the Sixers story a lot more interesting.
Embiid and Simmons will be the two main anchors next year. Both are hugely talented, franchise making players. Neither has proved himself yet. Covington is likely to play the 3. Saric may start if he can improve his outside shot. But he is as likely to come off the bench and feast on lesser talent. So the questions are at 2 and 4 spots. Stay tuned!