The new regime seems to be patient. Not as patient as Sam Hinkie was, but patient to wait and see what happens as the Sixers’ experiment transitions into its next phase. The team sat on its hands on draft day, staying put and electing not to make a trade for another pick or veteran.
With No. 1 overall choice Ben Simmons set to be the team’s centerpieceand Croatia’s Dario Saric finally on U.S. soil, the focus understandably nowgoes to the Sixers’ trio of centers.
Hinkiecollected big men during his tenure as 76ers GM and many surmise that at least one will be traded prior to the start of the 2016-17 season.
Rumors suggest that Okafor is still on the trade block, with the Celtics a possible trade partner — even after the two failed to complete a draft day deal.
Making a move right now might be a bit hasty. The right choice is to follow Hinkie’s example and be patient: To wait and see. Here are the five most convincing reasons not to trade a big.
1. The unknown
Joel Embiid is coming off of two missed seasons due to a foot injury. While Embiid seems to be targeting his NBA debut this October, he is injury prone. His ceiling appears to be high, as he seems to be the complete package — but he’s yet to appear in an NBA game. Many project him to play under 20 minutes per game when he returns as he gets up to NBA speed. There are plenty of minutes at the 4 and 5 position to get all three guys involved.
2. Practice, practice, practice
What better way to develop an elite big man than through competition? Noel, Embiid and Okaforcould potentially be practicing against one another, making one another better every single day.
3. The team is still bad
The Sixers are not in the hunt for an NBA title, and likely won’t even contend for a playoff spot. There is no need to get the team competitive right away. Instead, Philly and head coach Brett Brown need to take this next season to see exactly what it is they have. Perhaps one of the three emerges as a superstar. Perhaps two develop chemistry and there is an odd man out. All three players are under the age of 22 and in theory their value remains the same whether they are traded pre or midseason.
4. The return
Right now, it does not seem like the Sixers can get a very good return for any of their bigs. If they make a swap with the Celtics, as is being reported as a possibility by CSNNE, their best return could be another first round pick. And with as many as three first rounders coming in 2017, the team seems to be set draftwise.
5. Zig while they zag
Among the multitude of thoughts shared by Hinkie is his farewell letter to the Sixers last spring, “zigging while others zag” is one of the most emphasized. With the NBA currently three-point obsessed, it might be a longshot that any team can beat a current contender (the Warriors, Cavaliers, etc.) at their own game. Perhaps the Sixers, playing an inside out, big-man oriented game with Simmons running point-forward, can define a new winning formula.