The Sixers’ logjam at center has been the story surrounding the team for most of the offseason, but with the regular season just a few days away, the team hasn’t made a move to address its crowded frontcourt depth chart. With Joel Embiid looking good in preseason action and finally prepared to make his NBA debut, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer revisits the situation. As Pompey notes, in the short term, there should be enough minutes to go around, since Embiid’s playing time will be limited and Nerlens Noel‘s groin strain continues to keep him sidelined. When Noel returns, however, it’s expected to be an issue.
If the Sixers don’t make a trade anytime soon, there’s a good chance we’ll see two of Embiid, Noel, and Jahlil Okafor on the court at the same time, and one league executive suggests to Pompey that a pairing of Embiid and Okafor isn’t ideal. Noel and Okafor weren’t particularly effective playing together last year either, so the executive says the most effective duo would likely be Noel and Embiid: “Nerlens can guard the fours and keep Embiid around the rim. And on the offensive end, Embiid can step out more and Nerlens can be more around the basket. … It would be an athletic and great defensive combination.”
As the Sixers figure out how to manage their rotation up front, here’s more from out of Philadelphia:
- John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News makes a case for why the Sixers should trade Noel as quickly as possible.
- In a separate piece for The Daily News, Smallwood identifies four potential trade targets that the Sixers should consider after they make their final roster cuts. Brandon Knights, Shabazz Muhammad, Sam Dekker, and Kyle Anderson are the players that Smallwood believes could be good fits for Philadelphia.
- Head coach Brett Brown is pleased with the team’s offseason addition of Gerald Henderson, who will start at shooting guard and provide much-needed veteran leadership, writes Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News. As Brown points out, many of the Sixers’ veteran leaders in recent years have been players who didn’t get many minutes, so having someone like Henderson – who will play regularly – provides a different sort of value.