Philadelphia stole the show during the first round of last night’s NBA Draft behind their jaw-dropping trade that sent Jrue Holiday packing to New Orleans. That’s right—just weeks after taking role as the Sixers new GM, Sam Hinkie shook up a franchise that has been nosedeep in mediocrity for almost a decade. Philadelphia shipped away their best player in exchange for the sixth-overall pick, Nerlens Noel and a first-rounder for next year’s loaded draft.
The trade immediately drew all kinds of responses from everyone in the basketball world. There are fans that absolutely hate it, while there are others who couldn’t be more excited about the future. The Sixers gave up the 23-year-old Holiday, who was averaging 17 and 8 as the team’s primary ballhandler. A tough move nonetheless for Philadelphia fans to swallow after watching Jrue develop into an All Star guard after four years. In return, Hinkie has painted a whole new landscape into a franchise that’s become numb to losing streaks and terrible contracts every year.
It’s obvious the Sixers aren’t anywhere close to becoming a force in the Eastern Conference, but the bold move to pull the trigger on an athlete like Noel brings forth a new wave of wonder for this organization. Noel is a freakish athlete that was expected to go first in some mock drafts if it wasn’t for his knee injury. Now he’s coming into Philadelphia with a chip on his shoulder and a hunger to prove his doubters wrong. Noel’s best talents shine on the defensive side of the floor, he’s is ready to become a respected shot-blocker and anchor in the paint for the Sixers—something the team was hoping for a year ago when Andrew Bynum came to town.
Now the Sixers are in a full-fledge rebuilding mode that many can comfortably acknowledge when looking at the players left in their roster. It’s crucial to point out that the trade also gave Philadelphia some cap space and an additional protected first-round pick for the 2014 Draft. They were also able to maintain their 11th pick last night to draft a talented point guard in Michael Carter-Williams from Syracuse. Growing pains will ensue from this point on, but it’s promising to see the team’s new GM muster up a ballsy move to rattle up a stale fanbase that died a long time ago. There are several concerns and questions when looking at this roster, but rebuilding has always required some patience. Regardless of the outcome, Hinkie has given the city of Philadelphia something to talk about and to look forward to for years to come.