Apr 12, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown talks with guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during the second half against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Bobcats defeated the 76ers 111-105. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft 2014: Analyzing the MCW/Exum Situation + Trade Scenarios


Everybody just stop it. Stop it. It’s time to settle this thing once and for all.

Michael Carter-Williams or Dante Exum?

Now, as a man who actually runs a blog dedicated to covering athletes named Dante, I have to say, I would love to see Dante Exum in a Sixers uniform. Mainly because of his first name; I’m not afraid to admit that. For NBA history, the only other Dante to play is Dante Cunningham, and his career may be over with his recent legal troubles.

Anyway, enough about me.

In the recent weeks — and especially today — there has been news about  the Sixers possibly trading off MCW and the 10th pick to move up in the draft for my boy Dante. I gotta say…when I first heard it, I laughed at the idea.

Look, the 76ers have a rare talent in MCW. He’s tall, long, quick, and can do many things on the court. He can score, pass, defend, rebound, and just flat out play ball. And I’m speaking from a rookie standpoint. Obviously he’s no star, but one can say he’s going to be one.

What about Dante? Well, Nelson Exum hasn’t been in the public eye as much. Okay…let me rephrase that. He hasn’t been in the NBA public eye that much. Obviously, people have seen him play. No, I’m not talking about YouTube. I’m talking about his fellow Aussies.

What makes me feel comfortable with Dante is that Brett Brown has coached him before. Granted, this was years ago, and Dante’s game may have changed greatly since then. But, still, in the NBA world, Brown knows Dante Exum as much as anybody else. The history is there.

So, if the Sixers went with Exum, I would be comfortable with it. I would trust that Brown would know what he’s got and what he’s working with. And Sam Hinkie hasn’t screwed up yet, nor has given me a reason to believe that he will. If the Sixers want Exum, I’ll tag along.

I want Exum on the Sixers. But, is it right?

In what we’ve seen from Exum, he’s a really good player. It’s funny because he’s been compared to MCW. Toss a little of Penny Hardaway in there too. But, we’ve seen him in limited action. Not only that, but these games we’ve seen him play are on the big stage.

Let’s be real, some players play for the hype. Some guys only play their A game on the big stage, but will play on a lower level for other games. How do we know Exum is not the same way?

Let’s ignore the “He wants to play for the Lakers” thing. Just for a moment. I’ve seen highlights of Exum and I’ll bet most fans have seen the highlights. What about the lowlights? What areas does he need work on?

We may never really know, unless we grab his coaching staff and his team mates for an honest first hand look and opinion. Dante’s a risk. Yet — at 18 — he’s got potential. Shoot, he could grow a little taller. And folks are saying his upside is bigger than MCW’s. I don’t know this. I can’t know this. So, I will not speak on it.

We’re in three scenarios. Trade MCW to make room for Dante. Keep MCW. Or, keep MCW, and make a move to get Dante and pair them up.

It’s time to pick a side. Too early? I don’t think so.

I don’t think that, between now and next month, the Sixers’ will change their minds. I think they know if they want Dante or not by now. I think they know what assets they have to make a push. Really, on draft night, as the phone rings, is when things could take a serious shift. But, as for game plan and preparation, the Sixers already ran through these scenarios.

A friend of mine mentioned how the pair could possibly work together. It’s a shaky comparison, but he went to the Spurs. In this case, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker both have PG games. Meaning, they both can run the offense and play well together. Like I said, it’s shaky, but stay with me, here.

Clearly, people have said that Dante could play off the ball. It’s not his preference, but he seems to have some of the tools to make it happen. He and MCW can go back and forth on and off the ball. Hm? Oh, they both can’t shoot. That’s true. But can they not improve? I’m not sure what happened to MCW’s shot as the season went on because he was knocking down threes like it was nothing in the beginning of the season. If he shoots a decent percentage, say 35-38 percent for his career then this experiment works.

Both guys need the ball in their hands. Could we say that one of them would start while the other becomes Manu? Coach Brown was up close and personal with that in San Antonio. If it could work, he would try it out. Why not? And if it doesn’t work, I’m sure another team will be willing to take a crack at one of these guys.

So, am I saying the Sixers should give both a chance to play together? Nah.

I already told you what I would prefer, even if the reason is weak. But, I think the most likely scenario is that MCW stays and nothing happens with him and Dante ends up somewhere else.

It makes sense. Sure, Dante could be better down the road. But, I feel like it’s time to build for the next level. It’s time to develop a system and let the players learn this system. Okay, the system is already there.

Now, you could say: Nerlens Noel, and whoever the Sixers pick with the No. 3 pick and (possibly) 10 are gonna be rookies. Dante Exum could be a rookie right along with them. That’s very true. Technically, if the Sixers went with Exum, they would have a rookie core. All of them would grow at the same time. So, it wouldn’t be like we’re starting over. Noel hasn’t played a game. He’s practiced, but never had the real deal experience.

And yet, for some reason, it feels like it. Maybe it’s from a fan’s point of view. We went all season watching MCW grow as a player. All of that watching the growing pains just to ship him away for yet another rookie? We saw Jrue Holiday’s best season, and then he was gone. And it was like, “We watched him all of this time and the waiting paid off but now he’s someone else’ prize. for some people, including me. We’d do this all over again with Dante. At some point, it’d be nice to just hold on to somebody and watch him grow and progress. That’s my personal opinion.

In other words, let’s set a direction and move forward. Let’s get the players and have the core and get them working together. Let’s get the fans behind something instead of wondering if the player they love today is gone tomorrow. Hinkie was a trading machine, not because he loves trading, but because he needed to set the roster up for this draft as well as fixing some past mistakes of previous front office folks. I think he has an off switch, and I think this draft will show it. I happen to think that there won’t be too much activity. Yes, he’ll most likely be moving the second round picks around. And I still hold my ground on a Thad trade. But, other than that, somebody like MCW isn’t going anywhere.

Another case, as weak as it may be, is that MCW and Noel are buddied. And, chemistry is something to consider, especially with the core. A recent example would be the Lakers. They had big names at four positions, and still couldn’t make it work. You could argue injuries, but even still, they looked worse than they should have. Obviously, you’re gonna throw chemistry out of the window if the OKC Thunder foolishly offer Kevin Durant for MCW. But, for this case, I think I’d just want to keep MCW.

But none of us know. None of us can really know. For one thing, the “sources” can say one thing before the draft, but, if the Sixers get some wild call with an offer they can’t refuse, then they can’t refuse. That’s the thing with the draft. Anything can happen.

But, like I said before, that doesn’t mean that there’s a general plan in place. If you put it in priority, I would imagine the Sixers want to keep MCW. And by that logic, the second highest priority is to see if the combo PG thing can work. And then, the third thing would be to trade MCW and go all in with Exum. That’s for me.

What about you? You hear the reports. Let’s just ignore feelings about Jrue. Let’s focus on MCW. Would you trade MCW for Dante if Dante really did have the higher upside? Or, are you fine with MCW as the head of the eventual beast?

There’s many questions. So many questions. And I’ll bet the reports will not go away. You can be sure that this will never get resolved until the draft is over. You can bet that. I don’t think any piece of info between now and the draft will seriously change the minds of people who already have picked a side.

You know what I also think though? I think that even if Dante ends up being better than MCW, I don’t think it’ll be leaps and bounds. That’s what I think. And so, for me, either way if fine. Not to mention, MCW may not be as good, but he’s good enough to win championships with. There are a lot of great players who never won it all and then there are really good players who win it all more than once. I’m not saying Dante will be great and ring-less while MCW has multiple championships (though if he’s a winner, it’d better be with the Sixers). But, I am saying that I doubt the Sixers will regret keeping MCW.

Not to mention, what if Dante’s a bust? Wouldn’t that be something? What if he simply could not handle the NBA game and just never became a star? Plenty of international stars have done this. They looked good in highlights and pre draft workouts. But then, oops, they suck in the NBA.

I guess it all comes down to being safe, or taking a risk. Playing it safe means you ride with MCW. Taking the risk means that, with all of the unknowns with Dante, you still take him since you see greater things in him than MCW. Why else would you take the risk? You wouldn’t give up $1,000 for the chance to win $500, right? I hope I’m right. And so, some people are all about risk. And other are trying to be safe. There’s no right or wrong way of looking at this. It’s preference. And so, we’ll know what type of preference the Sixers have next month.

Okay, this post has been long, but you made it so far. It’s time to wrap it up. In the comments, or hit me on Twitter, let me know what side you’re on. MCW or Dante? Or both?

As for me, I am going on record as saying that I think it would be best to keep MCW vs trading him to get Dante.

 

Tags: Dante Exum Michael Carter-Williams Philadelphia 76ers

  • Zeru

    The Sixers will draft Wiggins with the 3rd pick. Shutting down this entire article. Heard it here first.