Busy Draft Night For Sixers

Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams are your newest 76ers.

Nerlens Noel (top) and Michael Carter-Williams are your newest 76ers.

The Sixers entered last night’s NBA Draft following weeks of silence and secrecy. Many wondered what was going on behind the closed doors of the 76ers front office. The Sixers ended their silence in a big way last night as the team has set a brand new, but very distinct, direction for their future.

The Sixers dealt fan favorite, All-Star point guard, Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Kentucky center Nerlens Noel. The defensive sensation out of Kentucky was the consensus #1 pick for most critics but he fell to #6 to the Pelicans which opened the door for the Sixers to make a move. The Pelicans are also sending a top-5 protected first round pick to the Sixers in 2014, a draft that is projected to be very good.

General Manager Sam Hinkie characterized the Holiday dealings as “one gut-wrenching phone call.”

The Sixers managed to hold on to their #11 selection and picked Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams to replace Holiday. The team also took part in a rash of second round trades.

Hinkie used his secrecy approach to completely flip the Sixers overnight.

Sam Hinkie's first major move at the helm of the Sixers involved dealing All-Star Jrue Holiday.

Sam Hinkie’s first major move at the helm of the Sixers involved dealing All-Star Jrue Holiday.

Coming into the draft there was the possibility of the Sixers making a move. Despite little talking to the media, the Sixers were in position to do some wheeling and dealing considering last season’s finish and two decent second round picks (35, 42). If there was one Sixer on the roster that no one expected to be dealt, it was Holiday.

Holiday made his first All-Star appearance last season and averaged over 17 points and 8 assists per game. He will now take his talents to the Pelicans who will pair him in their backcourt with Eric Gordon and who also have last year’s top pick Anthony Davis.

In this trade, the Sixers pick up numerous benefits. They take back a player who was the consensus top pick in the draft who fell because of a knee injury that will hamper him until December.

Noel spoke last night after the news of the deal and feels he is ahead of schedule and may be ready in November. Sixers fans most likely will cringe at the thought of dealing with another big man with knee problems.

Hinkie addressed the Andrew Bynum situation by stating that the team has not had a lot of contact with him but that they will speak with Bynum and see where it goes.

Noel brings the Sixers a player with tremendous length and defensive instincts. He was a force in college in the rebounding and shot blocking departments. Noel is not an offensive force at this time but he does have solid hands and good leaping ability. The Sixers have sorely missed on centers in previous drafts and they are hoping Noel can be their building block for years to come. He now has a very big chip on his shoulder.

Nerlens Noel fell to #6 to the New Orleans Pelicans before being traded to the Sixers.

Nerlens Noel fell to #6 to the New Orleans Pelicans before being traded to the Sixers.

The Sixers now have incredible cap flexibility. The team has rid themselves of the 4 years, $41 million remaining on Holiday’s deal and they currently do not have Bynum on the books in addition to other free agents. The Sixers could potentially be setting themselves up for next year’s free agent class that may be headlined by LeBron James.

The move also brought the Sixers a top-5 protected first round pick in next year’s draft which is projected by experts to be a very good one. That draft could include top prospects like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.

After Twitter accounts in Philadelphia went ablaze, the team still had a selection to make at #11. There was a grouping of combo guards and point guards around #11, and the Sixers ended up with Michael Carter-Williams. The Syracuse stand out was one of a few players that had been a confirmed workout for the Sixers and he seemed excited to be coming to Philadelphia.

Carter-Williams will be handed the keys to the car with the departure of Holiday and last night he said he was confident that he could step in right away and lead. The Sixers have the luxury of going to a young floor general as expectations to win will not be as high.

Michael Carter-Williams was all smiles as he donned a Sixers logo for the first time.

Michael Carter-Williams was all smiles as he donned a Sixers logo for the first time.

Carter-Williams will bring good passing ability, strong finishing power and size to the Sixers backcourt. He stands at 6’6, 185lbs.

After the whirlwind of a first round, the Sixers did not slow down. A number of names were linked to the Sixers and were traded away almost as quickly as they were selected much to the disdain of social media bound journalists. Once all the dealing was done, the Sixers walked away with Arsalan Kazemi out of Oregon.

Kazemi averaged 9.4 points and 10 rebounds per game last season. He is 6’7, 226lbs and is known for having a high motor and good rebounding ability. Kazemi was the first Iranian basketball player in NCAA Division 1 History. He is the first Iranian player drafted by an NBA team and follows in the footsteps of Hamed Haddadi (undrafted in 2004) as the second Iranian player in NBA history.

The path is now set. The Sixers have dismantled their current structure and will look to move forward. Hinkie preached after the draft about having a future oriented approach for the time being. He believes in the important of building a pipeline of talent by cultivating the player on your roster while strengthening the roster with new pieces.

Reports surfaced that said the Sixers hired Brett Brown as Head Coach. Hinkie denied them.

Reports surfaced that said the Sixers hired Brett Brown as Head Coach. Hinkie denied them.

The next step will be to hire a coach. There were several reports last night that the Sixers hired Spurs assistant Brett Brown but those rumors were denied by Hinkie. According to Hinkie, Sixers assistant Michael Curry ran all prospect workouts and will be the head coach of the Summer League team alongside other assistants from Doug Collins’ staff.

Many believe Curry may take over.

Hinkie stated that secrecy will not be standard operating procedure moving forward and that the team will be more open in dealings that do not relate to acquisitions. With that said, it will be interesting to watch what Hinkie and his new regime will do next.

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