NBA Draft 2013: How experts view the 76ers' moves
The guessing games have begun, of course, as they do after every pro draft and major trade.
A year ago, Philadelphia seemed in love with trading away the team's best player, Andre Iguadala, to obtain a young stud center named Andrew Bynum. He never played a game.
Back in 1986, owner Harold Katz was happy making a blockbuster draft-day trade, trading away all-star Moses Malone for younger center Jeff Ruland. Bad knees again. Ruland's career went nowhere.
Last night, the Sixers reportedly agreed to deal their only all-star, Jrue Holiday, for another big man with knee problems, Nerlens Noel, expected by some to be No. 1 pick in the draft.
Maybe the third time's the charm?
Only time will tell. But in this era of premature evaluation, grades have already started coming in. Here's a roundup of what's being said.
"Walk-off grand slam" was the choice of 51 percent of voters in a morning-after poll by WIP. "Swing and a miss" got 19 percent, "single" 29 percent.
"Walk-off grand slam" was also used by John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News. "In a 15-minute span, Hinkie took a 34-win team that looked like it had no future and transformed it into one that gives its long-suffering fan base true hope for the first time since drafting Iverson No. 1 in 1996."
"C+" writes USA Today's Adi Joseph. "So was Noel worth it? That all hinges on how he recovers from knee surgery and how well the New Orleans Pelicans do with Holiday, as their 2014 first-round pick could be very valuable. … The Sixers obviously were willing to blow things up and be bad for a year in hopes of winning the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes (with their own pick, as the Pelicans' pick is protected next year)."
"This is what you call mastering the first round," says Maxwell Ogden of BleacherReport.com. "The Sixers landed a coup, acquiring a future Defensive Player of the Year in Nerlens Noel and the draft's top facilitator and point guard defender in Michael Carter-Williams. Most importantly, they added future value -- a draft choice in the already heralded 2014 NBA draft."
"I think this is going to be tough for the Philadelphia fan," said Phil Martelli, head basketball coach at St. Joseph University, appearing on WIP this morning. Since it's too early to tell about player attitudes, injuries and peak potential, the biggest certainty is that the Sixers will probably be bad for at least a year. Noel, 7 foot and about 210 pounds, not only has to be healthy, he'll have to bulk up. "You're in a man's league and that type of body is not going to make it," Martelli said. He likes the first-round pick, Michael Carter-Williams. "He is a very, very creative passer and he is a really good defender. … This kid plays a lot like [Rajon] Rondo in Boston. … He gets an awful lot of steals." Both players will have to develop a better offensive game, though, he said.
"Just to let you know. I've just been traded by the #Sixers," tweeted 6ABC anchor Jim Gardner.
"I like what Philly did," responded ESPN's Bill Simmons when asked which team was the biggest winner on draft night. "They ended up with Nerlens Noel … and they got a draft pick that's pretty lately protected next year." He called how Noel dropped to No. 6 "a stunning turn of events."
"Perhaps we're only seeing the first stages of a larger sell-off under new GM Sam Hinkie," writes Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver, who counted New Orleans, the other team in the Noel trade, among his "winners." "The Pelicans landed a franchise point guard in Jrue Holiday who, at just 23, is already a certified All-Star. … The sweet part about acquiring Holiday, though, is his contract. … He's locked in for four full seasons at a very reasonable rate. … Even better, the Pelicans reportedly assured top-five protection on the 2014 first-round pick they sent to the Sixers, meaning they can still win big in a loaded lottery if things don't pan out immediately."
"I think the Sixers came away with a great haul on draft night," writes ESPN's Chad Ford. "Clearly they are going in full rebuild mode and will try to get a high pick in next year's stellar draft. [Second-round pick Arsalan] Kazemi is another favorite of the analytics crowd. He has a nose for the ball, hustles and rebounds. He's not a great scorer, but he's one of those guys who just makes everyone around him better."
"Sam Hinkie is a brave man," writes John Gonzalez for CSNPhilly.com. "In the course of an hour or so, Hinkie mashed the reset button and changed the direction of the franchise. Those are big moves. Huge moves. Those are the kinds of moves that cause cartoon characters to pop their giant eyeballs out of their heads because they're so shocked. It's staggering stuff."
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or email@example.com.