There is less of doubt that the Philadelphia 76ers are in a tanking mode this season. With another opportunity to pick top draft for the 2016–17 NBA season, 76ers remains to be a promising team. However, NBA rumor mill suggested that such rebuild would lead the 76ers to let go of their last year’s first round pick, Jahlil Okafor.
There is nothing new about this rumor, just a few weeks ago, there was another speculation exposing a trade deal with anonymous players involved which did not push through. Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, later on, confirmed that the mystery trade involved Jahlil Okafor. In the latter part of the negotiation, the 76ers allegedly backed out even when the offer went high.
The 76ers front office might have had cold feet back then, but with another rumor setting in, it seems like trade winds suddenly shifted its direction. According to reports, the Philadelphia 76ers are now willing to let go of their prized rookie, Okafor.
The said trade was considered for the fact that with the likes of Ben Simmons possibly coming in for the team, the 76ers would have to focus more and strengthen their defense, which is undeniably not the best side of Okafor. Having two big men in the line-up, 76ers would have to choose between the Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. And as SB Nation highlighted, Noel would be better at the center position as a more noteworthy rim defender.
“The Sixers’ defense has been quite stout with Noel on the floor without Okafor, giving up under 100 points per 100 possessions in those situations. That’s the mark of a top 10 unit and a continuation of the solid defense the team played at the end of last season as Noel improved. Okafor without Noel has brought better offense and equally terrible defense, which isn’t surprising given the rookie’s shortcomings on that end of the floor. While Okafor has great size and length, he’s slow of foot, not an explosive leaper and has poor defensive instincts. It’s hard to see him ever becoming an effective rim protector,” the article speculated.
With a sudden twist of perspective, the Philadelphia 76ers opened their lines for a possible trade. Whether fans would approve of it or not, such move might be best for the team as they try to finalize their roster and finally compete for the title next NBA season after two seasons of losing by design.
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