76ers: A Pelican Brief

NBA Draft 2013After the decisions made during the 2013 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers have become one of the main headlines.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ offseason has been relatively quiet ever since they let go of head coach Doug Collins. The 76ers made no trades and did not find a replacement for Collins.

Heading into the 2013 NBA Draft without a coach had many speculating how the 76ers would do with the 11th overall pick.

The 2013 NBA Draft started with a slew of surprises as Kentucky’s freshman center Nerlens Noel did not get selected first overall when the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett from UNLV instead. Noel is a 7-foot force and would have been the first overall pick if not for his injuries. Noel slipped down to be the sixth overall pick and was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans. A trade was imminent as the Pelicans wouldn’t have both Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel, two centers on their roster. The 76ers decided to trade All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick overall in the 2013 draft to the Pelicans; for both Noel and a 2014 first round pick. Jrue Holiday has been a fan favorite in Philadelphia over the past two seasons; averaging over 15 points and eight assists per game while making his first appearance in the 2013 All-Star game. Then with the 11th pick of the night the 76ers selected guard Michael Carter-Williams from Syracuse.

Philadelphia made this trade for three reasons:

1. The 76ers were locked into contracts that wouldn’t let them sign big name players. This impeded them from making greater strides towards their ultimate goal: an NBA Championship title. With Jrue Holiday gone, the 76ers can now make moves to sign a power forward or a much-needed shooting guard. The 76ers could enter next season with two top–ten picks in Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams along with plenty of cap space to sign All-Star quality players.

2. Neither Noel nor Williams were predicted to fall all the way to the 11th pick. Now, both are on the 76ers and these two players could be future cornerstones in Philadelphia. The 76ers got a few lucky breaks as teams didn’t trust Noel with his knee issues and passed on him. Other teams didn’t value the ability of Michael Carter-Williams and the 76ers got a young point guard who took Syracuse to Final Four last season. Carter-Williams had eight double-double games in the 2012-13 seasons and he ranked third in the nation in assists with 7.7 per game.

3. Finally, the 76ers have been stuck in the middle for about a decade. They haven’t been a top seeded team, but they haven’t been the worst in the NBA. A dictionary would describe this situation as “mediocre” but a sports fan would describe it as “Sports Hell”. Basketball is a sport where the weak can become the strong and the strong can become the weak on any given game day. It’s a vicious cycle and being stuck is frustrating. With this trade, the 76ers decided to break the monotonous cycle. This reason may coincide with the 2014 draft which may prove to be the most talent-filled draft the NBA has seen in awhile.

The 76ers executed trades with a big plan in mind and if the Pelicans falter, the 76ers will have a great 2014 pick and an even brighter future.

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