PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- They're not going to trade their best player again, are they?
The Philadelphia 76ers were reportedly close to trading Jahlil Okafor to the Boston Celtics for another draft pick, the New Jersey Nets' 2016 first-rounder, which is owned by Boston. The Nets currently have the NBA's fourth-worst record.
Unfortunately, it did not happen.
The 76ers should -- and if "The Process" continues to move forward, probably will -- trade Big Jah.
With Nerlens Noel (6'11"), Joel Embiid (7'0") looming, and Okafor (6'11") something has got to give -- or someone in this case. And Okafor is going to be the odd-man out.
Embiid has no trade value. He has yet to play in the NBA thanks to back-to-back foot surgeries. However, he is an athletic seven-footer who can step out and knock down a three-ball. Embiid has superstar upside and provides the most value for the 76ers as a part of their franchise.
Noel has too much value. Noel, a member of the 2015 NBA all-rookie team, is the kind of player who doesn't come around often. Noel is listed at 6'11", 228-pounds, but even more impressive is his 7'4" wingspan and ability to guard on the perimeter.
Last season, Noel became the second rookie ever to average at least 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. The other? David Robinson. Furthermore, he was the only player in the league to finish in the top ten in both steals and blocks.
I'm not done. Noel also finished five blocks short of a 200 point, 160 rebound, 40 steal, and 40 block month of March (243/190/41/35). The last player to achieve those lofty monthly totals? Hakeem Olajuwon in 1985-86.
This season, Noel's defensive numbers are nearly identical to his 2015 season and his scoring is up one-point per game (9.9 PPG in 2015, 10.9 PPG in 2016).
Okafor, hopefully, is going to be the odd man out. And I say hopefully -- not because I don't think Okafor is a good player (because I do) -- but because if he stays in Philly, it likely means Embiid never makes a significant impact.
Okafor's brilliant offensive game is undeniable. His 17.4 point per game leads all rookies. However, he is a defensive liability, doesn't get up and down the court particularly well, has dealt with minor off-the-court problems, and -- for what it's worth -- has a crazy dad.
The Okafor-plan is following the MCW-plan blueprint. Let a rookie run around on a bad team, inflate his stats, win the rookie of the year, and move him for a lottery pick.
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