Grading the 76ers Trade with Minnesota Timberwolves


As the world knows by now, Thaddeus Young was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In return, the Philadelphia 76ers received Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved, and a 2015 first-round pick from the Miami Heat. So, we pose the question: Did the 76ers receive good return for Young?

In hindsight, this is decent return for Thaddeus. Anytime a franchise can receive a first-round pick for a player — albeit top-10 protected — it’s a winning situation.

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Thaddeus Young has an ETO (early termination option) on his contract for next season and was exercising it at the end of this season if he stayed in Philadelphia. This is similar to what the Timberwolves did with Kevin Love, although it’s not on the same magnitude. Both franchises realized they had players that were unhappy in their current situations, so the teams decided to cut bait and collect as many assets as possible.

At first glance, obviously the first-round pick from the Miami Heat is the biggest asset here. 76ers GM Sam Hinkie is all about acquiring assets and for the third year in a row, he will have two first-round picks, possibly two lottery selections depending on the Heat’s season. The pick is top-10 protected, so it should be safe to fall to the 76ers at the 2015 NBA Draft. With Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade back in South Beach, the Heat are a lock for the playoffs. The pick should be in the 20-26 range.

Outside of the draft pick, the two players that the Sixers acquired are forward Luc Mbah a Moute and guard Alexey Shved. If you weren’t aware, Luc Mbah a Moute discovered the 76ers No. 3 overall pick this year: Joel Embiid. Mbah a Moute found Embiid at his camp in Cameroon that he was coaching and brought him over to the United States.

Dec 20, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) guards Los Angeles Lakers small forward

Nick Young

(0) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. The Lakers won 104-91. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to put in words how crucial Mbah a Moute will be for Embiid, especially since he will be rehabbing most — if not all — of the 2014-15 season. Mbah a Moute will be a familiar face for Embiid and he will be able to mentor and guide Joel through his first NBA season, even if it’s spent on a bench.

Not to mention, Mbah a Moute has been heralded as a solid defender at 6’8″, something the Sixers desperately need. He’s averaged 6.3 points 4.9 rebounds in six NBA seasons.

The other player that the 76ers acquired was Russian guard Alexey Shved. He’s about to embark on his third NBA season, but has yet to shoot 40 percent from the field or 30 percent from deep in his career. He’s a bit erratic, but can be described as a very exciting player to watch at times.

I did say he was an exciting player, right?

Shved has landed into a perfect opportunity in Philadelphia. He has the opportunity to compete for a starting position and play a lot of minutes, something he hasn’t done in the past. Shved averaged 23.9 MPG his rookie season, but that dropped to 10.5 MPG in his sophomore campaign. The 76ers will have minutes to give Shved if he plays hard enough to earn them. There are definitely a lot of young rookies on this team that will be fighting for minutes, so Shved doesn’t necessarily have his work cut out for him.

Overall, 76ers fans should be happy with the return that the Sixers received for Thaddeus Young. A first-round pick coupled with a low risk, high reward guard in Shved and Embiid’s mentor in Mbah a Moute is solid for a player who was leaving after this season regardless. No one knows what the offers would have been like at the trade deadline for Thaddeus Young. It could have exploded in Hinkie’s face, much like the Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes trades did. For these reasons, the 76ers receive a B+ grade for the Thaddeus Young trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.