The Philadelphia 76ers Need To Get Rid Of Nerlens Noel

Mar 17, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) reaches for a ball and keeps it in bounds against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) reaches for a ball and keeps it in bounds against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Trade rumors have been heating up recently regarding the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics. Nerlens Noel’s recent Twitter antics have everyone believing he will be out the door soon but for who? The Sixers need to make this trade happen sooner rather than later.

Nerlens Noel has been a hot topic of trade discussion throughout this offseason. With the Philadelphia 76ers current logjam in the frontcourt, it is clear that something needs to be done prior to the season starting.

We have discussed the Sixers big man situation in previous articles and many fans are in denial about the logjam, thinking the team can keep the current roster as is for the regular season. There are multiple reasons why this would be a very bad idea.

For starters, Noel will become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2016-17 season. If the Sixers fail to deal him, he could walk away to Boston or another team leaving the Sixers empty handed or forcing them to match a high-priced offer. This would be a worst case scenario.

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Secondly, the Philadelphia 76ers are in desperate need of a solid shooting guard. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I were Brett Brown heading into the season with Nik Stauskas and Gerald Henderson as my shooting guards. If the Sixers can facilitate a trade to get a serviceable shooting guard in return for Noel, then that’s exactly what they should do.

Lastly, the Sixers have a plethora of big men on their current roster. Aside from Nerlens Noel, the Sixers also have Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, Carl Landry and Richaun Holmes who could all find themselves as part of the rotation this season between the power forward and center positions.

Nerlens Noel is a very solid rim protector that has averaged nearly a double double the past two seasons to go along with two blocks per game. The Celtics are reportedly very interested in bringing Noel back to his hometown of Boston. If this trade is anything more than just noise, what are some possible trade scenarios that we could be looking at?

Scenario 1

Nerlens Noel for Marcus Smart and Boston Celtics 2017 first round pick

This is the type of scenario that has Boston fans all riled up. For some reason, they believe that Marcus Smart is going to be a franchise star. Many of the Celtics faithful are appalled at this trade scenario saying that it is not giving Smart enough trade value. I have seen multiple people through forums and articles quote the CARMELO formula by FiveThirtyEight as ‘proof’ that Smart will be a star one day.

For those that are not familiar already, this formula uses a set of metrics to find any players most comparable (past and present) NBA players on a points system. It then uses those metrics and comps players to attempt to accurately predict a player’s future performance, wins above replacement and market value. While I do believe the formula is intriguing and could provide predictive data, it is extremely flawed to be using it as your only basis when deciding if a player is good or that they will be in the future.

This formula lists Marcus Smart in the “Future All-Star” category and Boston Celtics fans will go to war defending that. What is interesting to me though, is that this is the same formula that lists Avery Bradley as “Average starter” when he has better ratings than Smart in any Scoring metric and is only slightly worse in the defensive categories. It also lists Kent Bazemore as a “Rotational Player” when he is nearly better than Smart in every metric aside from draft position. It is also worth noting that Smart’s top comparison is Iman Shumpert and that is the part that I strongly agree with.

Like Shumpert, Smart brings a strong defensive presence and is good at attacking the rim and drawing fouls. This is something the Sixers did not have much of, if at all, last season. That being said, Smart will need to drastically improve his shooting efficiency as he has averaged under 36 percent from the field since entering the league.

Danny Ainge has been pretty clear that he is not budging on giving up the Brooklyn Nets pick which is understandable, considering how bad they are likely to be this season. But if the Sixers can negotiate Boston’s first round pick along with Smart in a package deal, then it is hard to argue with. Smart will provide depth at the guard position for the Sixers with the potential to develop if he can learn to consistently knock down shots.

Scenario 2

Nerlens Noel for Avery Bradley

On the flip side, this is a scenario that have some Sixers fans very vocal against. While one of the Boston or Brooklyn picks would be ideal, I would be happy if the Sixers were able to facilitate the deal for Bradley by himself as well.

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Avery Bradley is an excellent defender as he was voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. He received the most votes among guards. What Bradley brings to the table that Smart does not is his ability to shoot. Bradley averaged over 15 points per game last season with a 44 percent field goal percentage. He also has the ability to knock it down from beyond the arc finishing with a 36 percent shooting rate from beyond the arc last season.

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Assuming this trade happens, it would clear the Sixers logjam while dramatically improving a key hole in the roster. These are the most realistic trade scenarios that I could see happening between the Celtics and Sixers. Both trades would appear to help both teams so I am hoping they can manage to get a deal done shortly. That way we can all stop Twitter stalking and go back to actually watching basketball.