Joel Embiid expected to play power forward with Jahlil Okafor at center vs. Raptors

Joel Embiid expected to play power forward with Jahlil Okafor at center vs. Raptors

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers will be short a big without Nerlens Noel on Wednesday night, but they'll still have two against the Raptors.

Joel Embiid expects to play alongside Jahlil Okafor on Wednesday. When he does, Embiid will be the power forward.

Embiid will remain at center when playing with power forwards Ersan Ilyasova or Dario Saric, who also will be seeing time at small forward. 

“Tonight I’m guarding the four, so I think it depends on the matchups,” Embiid said after shootaround. “Some days I’m going to be guarding the five, but tonight I’m guarding the four.”

Brett Brown has emphasized his decision to play two bigs will be based on the opponents. He has paired Embiid and Okafor twice against the Magic, who feature Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic (see story)

Embiid sees the Raptors, who are projected to start Pascal Siakam at power forward and Jonas Valanciunas at center, as a good opportunity to move around the floor. The Sixers will need help defense honing in on the dangerous backcourt of DeMar DeRozan (27.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game) and Kyle Lowry (21.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists per game). 

“I think no disrespect to Siakam, but he’s not as good as a shooter,” Embiid said. “That sets me kind of free to like just play all over the place, helping my teammates, helping off DeRozan, Valanciunas, so it just kind of gives me free reign to just play.”

The Raptors beat the Sixers, 122-95, in their first meeting of the season on Nov. 28. Embiid did not play, as it was the second game of a back-to-back. 

With limited roster spots, Sixers unlikely to use all 4 2nd-round picks

With limited roster spots, Sixers unlikely to use all 4 2nd-round picks

The Sixers have four second-round picks in tonight's NBA draft. It is unlikely they use all of them, and if they do, it’s not without trying to make moves. 
 
The Sixers are slated to select at Nos. 36, 39, 46 and 50. The biggest hurdle: there’s not enough room on the roster to draft and keep all of those picks.

“You’re talking about limited roster spots,” president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Monday. “When you include the No. 1 selection, it might be two or three spots that are in question. You look at pick No. 36 and say, ‘Is anyone on the board that could possibly crack the rotation?’ It’s unlikely, but if that presents an opportunity to select someone that we have some confidence in, sometimes players do slide through that first round and you get surprised.”
 
The team has been open about their interest in moving some of the picks for a while now. Back in May at the draft combine, Colangelo said, “It's not to say we're going to make four selections in the second round.” 
 
The Sixers have several options with those picks, for which they have received interest. One route could be packaging the picks to move up in the draft. TNT’s David Aldridge reported the Sixers were offering picks 36 and 39 to get into the 20s (see story)
 
“You could potentially package them (second-round picks) and move up to have a later first-round pick that potentially is a better fit for the current fit for the current roster,” Colangelo said Monday. “Maybe a sure fit as opposed to someone that could just be a question mark at 36.”
 
There is a strong chance the Sixers could use the pick (or picks) for a draft-and-stash situation, similar to what happened when they acquired Dario Saric, wherein a player remains with their international team for now. Last year, the Sixers selected Furkan Korkmaz at No. 26. He played in Turkey this past season and may not join the Sixers until his existing contract is up. The Sixers spent time in Europe visiting Korkmaz and also watched prospective talent while there.  
 
Other possibilities include trading out of this draft with those picks or packing them in a deal to move a current player.

In the case the Sixers use some or all of the picks, they have been hosting pre-draft workouts with projected second-round and undrafted players over the past few weeks at their training complex. 
 
“What we are doing is lining up options and alternatives for those picks and for those selections,” Colangelo said. “We want to be prepared as we are on the clock. The two-minute mark moves fast and we are going to have multiple decisions to make on draft night.”

Report: Sixers looking to trade for a 2nd 1st-round pick

Report: Sixers looking to trade for a 2nd 1st-round pick

It appears the Sixers may not be done wheeling and dealing just yet.

The Sixers are dangling two of their second-round picks — Nos. 36 and 39 — to trade for a second first-round pick, according to TNT's David Aldridge.

Per Aldridge, the Sixers are looking to move into the 20s.

After officially acquiring the No. 1 overall pick in tonight's NBA draft on Monday, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo hinted the Sixers were interested in obtaining another first-round pick.

"I think whether we are selecting No. 1 or just staying at three, there's been some talk about our interest in acquiring yet another pick," Colangelo said, "and I'm not going to give up those efforts because we have moved up to No. 1."

The Sixers have four second-rounders in tonight's draft and at least a second first-round pick in 2018 (Lakers) or 2019 (Kings) depending on which pick conveys to Boston.

On Wednesday, CSNPhilly.com's Paul Hudrick broke down five potential prospects the Sixers could target late in the first round if they were to trade for a second pick (see story).

With Aldridge's report, there's a real possibility they could get another first-rounder.