Nerlens Noel has publicly said how he isn’t happy with the Sixers current backcourt situation. And the thing is, he is completely right.
Ever since GM Sam Hinkie wrote his epic resignation letter and Bryan Colangelo stepped in to take the rebuild of the Philadelphia 76ers to the next level, fans have been waiting to see what would happen with the team’s situation with the center position.
Currently the Sixers have three starting centers in Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. While Embiid has been out the last two years with foot issues, he is expected to finally take the court for the 2016-17 season. Meanwhile Noel and Okafor have not had success playing on the hardwood at the same time. It led to Noel playing a lot of power forward and Okafor riding the bench for stretches late last year.
The thinking was that one or possibly two of the many centers on the Sixers roster would have been traded by the time the NBA Draft rolled around. That didn’t happen despite there being rumors the team received several trade offers for Noel and Okafor.
Now the Sixers are heading into training camp and the logjam in the backcourt continues.
And one of the three has had enough.
Noel spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey about the issues at center over the weekend. He is not happen that the situation has not been resolved with the beginning of the season looming.
“I think it’s just silly . . . this situation that we are in now with three starting centers. With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer.
“Don’t get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it’s like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn’t make any sense.”
So does Noel want to be traded if it will be the mess is finally resolved?
“I feel like it definitely needs to be figured out. I think at the end of the day, again, you have three starting-caliber centers. And it’s just not going to work to anybody’s advantage having that on the same team. That’s how I’m looking at it. I’m not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated.”
Noel is going into the final year of his rookie deal and of all those on the team, he had dealt with the most heartache. He had to begin his NBA career on a historically bad basketball team for three straight years in a quest for draft picks. Imagine finally achieving the dream you’ve had since you were little and being told you won’t be able to enjoy winning for years yet.
So it isn’t surprising that Noel would finally speak up and want things to be resolved going into the new season.
Despite all that, Noel says he will show up and play every night regardless of what happens.
“I’m here to do my job and play as hard as I can play for the city of Philadelphia. I’ve always loved the fans from the jump. It’s probably one of the realest cities in the country with just genuine passion and love for the sport.”
It is long overdue that the Sixers fix this. Whether it be Noel or Okafor or even Embiid, something needs to change. The sooner, the better.