Joel Embiid revealed that Nerlens Noel is his “best friend” and wants them to play together in the Philadelphia 76ers. With the Okafor-Embiid experiment turning into a failure, should the Sixers consider trading Jahlil Okafor over Noel?
All signs are pointing that Nerlens Noel is the odd man out in the Sixers’ three-center rotation. Not only because he suffered multiple injuries but also because he’s set to become a restricted free agent next summer. As of now, coach Brett Brown continues with his experiment of using Okafor and Embiid as his frontcourt starters.
Though they proved to be good offensively, the Sixers noticeably struggling on the defensive end. The Sixers were outscored by 13.1 points per 100 possessions in 67 minutes when both big men were inside the court. As of now, Embiid and Noel have yet to share the court.
SIXERS FANS, EMBIID WANT NERLENS NOEL TO STAY
In their recent game against the Pelicans, Nerlens Noel checked in to boost the Sixers’ defense. According to Keith Pompey of Philadelphia Inquirer, fans yelled “Nerlens” and “Put Nerlens in.” It was followed by “We want Nerlens.”
“I really want to thank the fans,” Noel said. “They really appreciated me these last four years. That’s something I’m really appreciative about.”
Joel Embiid expressed his support for Noel and revealed that he was his “best friend on the team”. He also dreams of sharing the court with Noel in the future.
“I loved it. He’s my best friend on the team, and I was really happy for him. I also want to get on the court and see what we can look like together because I like him and want to play with everybody. I feel like if we are trying something, we should try the other thing too. So hopefully in the future, they do that,” Embiid said.
As of now, Noel continues to receive limited playing time from coach Brett Brown. However, with how fans showed support for the big man, the Sixers should try if Noel could coexist with Joel Embiid. Defense is Noel’s expertise which makes him an interesting partner for Embiid.
If they proved to have a better chemistry, Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo should consider making a “Plan B” in the nearing February deadline.
TRADE JAHLIL OKAFOR
If the Sixers want to receive a fair return, trading Jahlil Okafor instead of Nerlens Noel would make sense. Noel is set to become a restricted free agent next summer, making him incredibly difficult to trade for value. Meanwhile, Okafor’s rookie contract will last until 2019.
For now, coach Brett Brown should try if the Noel-Embiid frontcourt would work for the Sixers. If they can’t coexist, the Sixers should start entertaining offers for Noel than lose him without getting anything in return. However, if Noel-Embiid frontcourt shows better chemistry, the Sixers will be having their frontcourt of the future and an attractive trade chip.
Photo courtesy: Patriarca12/Wikimedia Commons
Video courtesy: Youtube/NBA Conference