Dei-mails: Draft Joel Embiid, trade Nerlens Noel?

Dei-mails: Draft Joel Embiid, trade Nerlens Noel?
December 31, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Kansas freshman Joel Embiid is averaging 10.8 points per game in 21.6 minutes of action thus far. (USA Today Images)

In this latest edition of Dei-mails, we touch on NBA draft prospect Joel Embiid and the possibility of trading Nerlens Noel.

Here we go:

Just wanted to get your thoughts on Joel Embiid.

He really is looking good and I wonder if he's there when the Sixers draft, will they take him? Could he play alongside Nerlens Noel or could they move Noel for another piece since I think Joel Embiid has more potential on offense and defense. I want to see how he improves the rest of year but he is getting better every game and has more size than Noel.

- DKemm21

Embiid’s stock is definitely on the rise. Some mock drafts have him going as high as No. 4 six months from now. His size is obviously different than that of Noel. The Kansas freshman is 7-foot, 250 pounds; Noel is 6-foot-11, 228 pounds.

Embiid is averaging 10.8 points per game on 5.8 shots in 21.6 minutes of action. He is shooting 67 percent from the floor and he pulls down 6.9 rebounds. But the Jayhawks' conference schedule has yet to get underway.

Noel as a freshman at Kentucky averaged 10.5 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocks. He shot 59 percent for the season and averaged 32 minutes played per game.

I don’t see the Sixers moving Noel before they get a long look at him playing in games. His potential and tremendous athleticism are too intriguing to not show some patience in reaping the rewards of developing him.

Yes, they could draft Embiid to play alongside Noel if they believe the 19-year-old has offensive potential. But you cannot start four and five players with just defensive presences and little offense alongside each other.

Right now, the Sixers have a starting frontcourt that averages 33 points per game. Thaddeus Young shoots 54 percent from the field, Spencer Hawes 50 percent while both players are shooting above 43 percent from three-point range.

Hawes is a free agent after the season, so if he moves on, the Sixers will be in need of a center if they want to play Noel at the power forward spot.