Nerlens Noel C/F- Kentucky (Acquired through trade with New Orleans)
The consensus first overall pick fell all the way to #6 to be picked by the New Orleans Pelicans, but minutes later reports surfaced that the rights to Noel and a 2014 protected first round pick would be traded to Philadelphia for Jrue Holiday and the 42nd overall pick (the trade has not yet been approved by the league). Trading a 23 year-old all-star point guard will always be a gamble, but Hinkie thought this move was worth it.
The 6'11'' 19-year-old from Kentucky is best known for his defense and shot blocking abilities (and Hi-top fade hairstyle). Noel was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, and also named to 2013 1st Team all-SEC in his only year at Kentucky. His season was ended after tearing his ACL in February. The injury and speculation that he might not be ready for the start of the season may have dissuaded many teams from picking him earlier than 6th. During his shortened season, Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. His offense is still a question mark as most of his points resulted from dunks, but Nerlens is young and that could develop over time. There are also questions about his size and if he his strong enough to play center in the NBA. The Sixers are hoping his athleticism will return after the injury which could make up for his lack of strength. However, when he is on the floor, Noel will undeniably provide the rim protection that Philadelphia lacked this past season.
Possibly an even more intriguing part of the trade was the acquisition of a protected 2014 New Orleans' first round pick which the Sixers suspect will turn into a lottery pick in a draft that scouts already expect to blow this year's draft class out of the water. After trading away Holiday and assuming Noel may miss the beginning of the season, the Sixers will most likely tank next year hoping to use their own pick to pick a player like Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, both of whom are expected to be franchising-changing players.
Michael Carter-Williams G- Syracuse (Selected 11th overall)
With their #11 overall pick, the 76ers selected Syracuse's sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams to hopefully take Holidays place as the team's point guard of the future. I believe the Sixers original plan was to select Michigan's Trey Burke as Holiday's successor, but Burke was taken 9th and Carter-Williams was taken in his place. The 6'6'' guard averaged 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. MCW has good size for a point guard which can translate to great defense. He had 11 double-digit games in his last season at Syracuse. The big concern for Carter-Williams is his shooting ability. MCW averaged 39.3% shooting from the floor last season and struggles from three-point range. If he does not work on this part of his game the Sixers could be stuck with 2 inconsistent shooters in MCW and Turner.
The Sixers then made a few other picks in the 2nd round, like Nate Wolters, Ricky Ledo, and Glenn Rice Jr., but the player's rights were all traded away.
Overall I'd rate this draft and all of the trades involved a B; simply because there are too many unknowns. While next year will almost definitely be tanked, the Sixers have made a path for future success after 2014. Hinkie certainly took a gamble trading an all-star, but it may very well pay off, though we won't know for sure for at least another year. No one knows if Noel will return with his athleticism, or what next year's 2 first rounders will turn into, or if MCW will improve his shooting enough to be a starting quality point guard. We will need to wait to see the true impact of Hinkie's first draft with the Sixers.
By: Matt Ryan
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