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May 09, 2016

What they’re saying: The Sixers shouldn’t trade Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel

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Bobby Marks is a former Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager who became a minor Twitter sensation during last year’s free agency period for giving an insider’s perspective of various moves. Now he’s writing with Adrian Wojnarowski over at The Vertical.

As part of his summer agenda series, Marks wrote a post on the key issues facing the Sixers this offseason. As a fan of cross-sport analogies, I couldn’t agree more with his “singles and doubles” line of thinking when it comes to free agency:

With cap space, a treasure chest of draft picks and some young building blocks, 76ers management needs to get in the business of hitting singles and doubles. Pushing chips to the middle of the table and going hunting for big names is not what Philadelphia should do. If that happens, the 76ers could be back to Square One in the rebuilding process.

The previous three seasons showed Philadelphia in asset-acquisition mode and not focused on improving the on-court product. The key for Philadelphia is finding that fine line to improve the basketball talent but not risk its key assets.

The whole thing is worth a read (especially if you’re interested in salary cap minutiae), but as you can probably glean from the title, Marks has a strong opinion about Joel Embiid’s health:

The big question is the health of former first-round pick Joel Embiid. Even if Embiid recovers from the foot injuries that have sidelined him the past two seasons, putting Okafor or Noel on the open market should not be the course of action. Embiid’s health is simply too much of a risk.

Marks certainly isn’t wrong about Embiid’s health being a major risk, but we already have a season’s worth of evidence that Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor are a poor fit together. Unless something drastically changes, there is a good chance that the Sixers will have to move one of those two guys anyway.

Basically, just as there is risk in trading one of the young bigs too early, hanging on to both of them is also a major gamble. 

Other Sixers news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Top-10 Mock Draft: What if 76ers win No. 1 (and get the Lakers' pick)? Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider

Xfinity Live might burn down if this scenario happened on lottery night. With the No. 1 and 4 picks, Ford and Pelton have the Sixers taking Ben Simmons and Kris Dunn respectively:

While I understand the "draft Brandon Ingram" movement and see him as potentially a better fit in Philly than Simmons, I still believe Simmons is the right player here.

Yes, concerns about his shooting and intensity are there. But he does things as both a passer and rebounder that few prospects could ever do. And given that the Sixers actually desperately need a point guard, is it weird to consider Simmons filling that position?

More draft talk, this time some rumorish reporting from radio host Colin Cowherd. It makes sense that the Lakers don’t want to rebuild, but the question is what type of player they could get in return for a top pick. The Lakers’ short-term strategy would obviously have a major effect on the Sixers and the pick that would still be owed to them.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak preparing as if team will lose top-three-protected pick in draft lottery: Baxter Holmes, ESPN

Well, considering there is about a 45 percent chance of this happening, I would hope so: 

“I mentioned earlier that I’m superstitious,” Kupchak said. “I don’t like the whole ‘karma’ part of that. [I’m] not nearly as superstitious as my predecessor, Jerry West. There’s a traffic light at the Forum that he would never drive underneath. I’m not that superstitious. But I’m superstitious enough not to want to talk about a pick that we don’t have.”

Can Mike D'Antoni be successful in the NBA again? It depends: Tom Ziller, SB Nation

Ziller thinks that D’Antoni would fare better coaching a team that has defensive talent already in place (like the Pacers). Considering his track record defensively, it makes some sense:

This is a situation tailor-made for a coach like D'Antoni. The defense is there, but preservation ought to be less demanding and more foolproof than creation. On the other end, D'Antoni could focus his efforts to leverage PG-13's considerable abilities to torch up the Eastern Conference. (As it were, Frank Vogel looks like a strong fit for Houston, doesn't he?)

In case you missed it on PhillyVoice

  1. Sixers “Stay or Go” series: Guards, Wings, and Bigs 
  2. The Sixers made a couple of front office hires, and we recorded a podcast discussing those moves, among many other things.
  3. Sixers only mock draft, version 2.0

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann