May 04, 2016
Yesterday, we continued the Sixers “stay or go” series with a post focusing on the wings, forecasting that all four of those players will return. That means I currently have six of the nine 10-win Sixers returning.
Admittedly, that’s a high number. Let’s head to the frontcourt, where there should be more player movement:
Kudos to our pal Derek Bodner for putting together the ultimate Embiid pre-game shooting YouTube video. This baby has over 156,000 views:
We all know the deal with Embiid: huge upside, huge(r) risk. Other teams know that as well. It remains to be seen if the Kansas product can make it on the court this time around, but his value to the Sixers is clearly greater than anyone else.
Brand was signed right after New Year’s and he didn’t see any game action for two months. Appearing in 17 games down the stretch, the 37-year-old forward was one of the team’s better players during that time. In particular, Brand stabilized the defense in a similar fashion to when he played in Philly for Doug Collins. The Old School Chevy still had a little in the tank.
With the possible frontcourt additions like Embiid, Saric, and anyone else in the draft, my guess is that E.B. won’t be back.
It didn’t totally feel like Noel took a step forward offensively, but the numbers are the numbers (points are per-36 minutes):
Noel’s defense regressed from his rookie year, although that can largely be attributed to the fact that he was playing out position 37.2% of the time (net rating is per-48 minutes). Nylon Calculus helps us out here:
Noel didn’t function well as a power forward next to Jahlil Okafor at all, for a couple of basic reasons (that are the same reason): 1. On offense, he at his best as a pick-and-roll big who catches lobs. 2. On defense, his quick hands and excellent shot-blocking ability are best utilized when he can play against centers. Basically, he’s at his best around the rim on both ends of the floor.
I’m still not confident in Noel’s offense, and it’s unknown if he would fare better playing next to Joel Embiid. That said, Noel is a unique defensive player, even if he ultimately comes off the bench. Nerlens stays.
The winner of the Lorenzo Brown Memorial I-95 Award, Wood shuttled between Delaware and Philly a few times this season. The Sixers have a $1 million qualifying offer they can make to Wood, who had some nice moments in the D-League. I would look elsewhere, though.
In a surprising development, Landry couldn’t miss during the 36 games he played for the Sixers. The 32-year-old feasted on pick-and-pop jumpers, averaging 22.2 points per 36 minutes on 55.6 percent shooting. The less said about his defense, the better.
The Sixers are on the hook for Landry’s $6.5 million contract next year, but with the salary cap skyrocketing and the Sixers still so far away from it, that number isn’t restrictive at all if you wanted to move Landry, even if it meant you had to cut him.
Besides how the Sixers fare in the draft lottery and who they eventually end up with, the question of whether Okafor (or Noel) gets moved is probably the most important one of the summer. We know that those two players don’t fit together, and if the Sixers end up with Ben Simmons in addition to Saric coming over, the crowded frontcourt rotation won’t be within the fire code.
There are a lot of variables here, and you have to wonder if Bryan Colangelo (who isn’t tied to anyone on the roster) will come in and cut bait quickly. If one frontcourt piece were to get moved, my guess is that it would be Okafor. I’ll say that he stays, without much conviction. If the Sixers were to bring in more shooting, there is some value in letting Okafor play with better floor spacing.
And to sum up the whole exercise, I have 9 of 15 players sticking around…
| Ish Smith
| Isaiah Canaan
| Nik Stauskas
| T.J. McConnell
| Jerami Grant
| Robert Covington
| Carl Landry
| Joel Embiid
| Elton Brand
| Jahlil Okafor
| Christian Wood
| Nerlens Noel
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann