After a long summer of trade rumors involving Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, the Sixers are about to begin the preseason with both players still on the roster. And so is Joel Embiid, who finally looks ready for his NBA debut after being sidelined for two years with complications stemming from a broken bone in his right foot.
The abundance of talent in the frontcourt has been the target of many critics, including Noel himself, who recently called the situation “silly” and said the team doesn’t need three starting centers. The Sixers tried to use Noel and Okafor together last season with limited success, and Embiid’s arrival only complicates that situation.
The knocks against all three have been repeated often. Noel has no shooting range and limited offensive skills in general. Okafor doesn’t play defense and had too many troubling off-court incidents as a rookie. Embiid isn’t dependable and didn’t work hard enough to rehab his injuries.
Regardless of those criticisms, all three are exceptional talents. In fact, the Sixers have done very well in each of the past four drafts. Noel probably would have been the first player taken in 2013 if not for a severe ACL tear. Embiid drew comparisons to Akeem Olajuwon in college and was picked third in 2014 behind Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Okafor was projected to go second in 2015, but slipped to third when the Lakers opted for D’Angelo Russell.
Then there’s the Sixer who was a No. 1 choice, Ben Simmons, who is also the latest to join the disabled list. Simmons will need surgery after breaking a bone in his right foot at Friday’s practice and could be out of action three months or more.
That brings us to tonight’s question: Will Embiid, Noel, Okafor and Simmons ever play a game together as Sixers teammates? Simmons’ injury should keep him sidelined until at least early January, and the late-February trade deadline will be approaching by then. If Embiid looks healthy early in the season, Philadelphia may pull the trigger on a deal involving Noel or Okafor, especially considering the October 31st deadline for Noel to receive a rookie contract extension. If no deal is reached, he will be a restricted free agent next summer and the Sixers may have to decide whether to match a hefty offer sheet.
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the Sixers’ future. We look forward to what you have to say.