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NBA Draft 2013: Sixers trade Jrue Holiday, set foundation for the future?


The Philadelphia 76ers are like that person you know who randomly drops out of sight without any notice. You get a little annoyed that they fall off the face of the earth on cue, but when they finally do return, they manage to do something really smart or absolutely insanely stupid that somehow manages to peak your interest in some way.Photo: USA TODAY Sports


Well, our local “professional” NBA team has done it again. First off, there was the whole question of whether Sixers CEO Adam Aron had been relieved of his duties this week. Numerous source apparently confirmed this, but then it was denied by the Sixers.  As of now, Aron is still with the team.


Then there was the whole week leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft........




Yep. Not a peep from new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie or anyone in the Sixers organization in regards to what they might possibly do in this draft.


Well, still waters apparently run deep, because out of nowhere, the Hinkie and the Sixers came out swinging Thursday night.


If there was ever a bold move to make as an introduction, Hinkie did just that. He traded Jrue Holiday, the Sixers best player and 2013 All-Star to the Pelicans for the rights to Nerlens Noel, the No. 6 pick in the draft from Kentucky. The Sixers also get a top-five protected first-round pick in 2014. In other words, if the Pelicans don’t get a top five lottery pick, it belongs to the Sixers. Before he tore his ACL in February, the 19-year old Noel was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick of the draft. Noel won’t be ready to play until December, but it’s not like the Sixers will be gunning for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference this year.


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Here’s the one red flag I see here: when I think knee injury, I think of Andrew Bynum, and that’s a bad thing. However, doctors have said Noel’s injury is nothing like Bynum’s, and he should be on his way to a full recovery. While I remain skeptical on this move, at least the selection of Noel officially and thankfully ends any possibility of the Sixers trying to resign Bynum. I just don’t know if they substituted one injured player for another.


With the Sixers now needing a point guard, they selected Michael Carter-Williams from Syracuse with the 11th pick of the draft. Carter-Williams and Noel played together as youngsters, but if you’re expecting the next Magic and Kareem out of these two, that might be a stretch. Noel is more of a defensive standout, and Carter-Williams’ shot is in dire need of work. Pairing Carter-Williams with an inconsistent Evan Turner in the backcourt could be a recipe for disaster for this team.


Bottom line:


The Sixers have been toiling for years in mediocrity and something had to give. This franchise needs to get really bad before it gets great again. Hinkie seems to get this and the team now seems to have a general sense of direction- which is sorely needed with our sports teams in this town. With Holiday, the Sixers would probably wind up with the ninth or tenth pick of next year’s draft. But now, the Sixers will no longer be an average team who gets a mediocre draft pick year after year. It’s pretty much a guarantee that they will stink this year, and you will want them to stink. Trust me. The 2014 NBA is projected to be the best in decades, and the Sixers could possibly get two picks out of it. Plus, trading Holiday saves cap space that will enable the Sixers to possibly sign some premium free agents in the coming years.


There’s no telling how these trades will work out, but the Sixers took a gamble towards the future on Thursday night. Years from now, we could be talking about how Hinkie’s draft paved the way for some special Sixers teams, or we could be back to square one. The rest will have to play out, but it’s a possible step in the right direction.

Now all they need is a coach. 




Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports