Sixers’ coach Brett Brown said he wanted to use eight games to get a good look at the Jahlil Okafor/Joel Embiid pairing. He watched six games where the defense was a flat-out disaster with them together (allowing 117 points per 100 possessions) and the team went 1-5. That was enough.
“We want to see Nerlens and Joel a little bit,” Brett Brown said. “I think the Jahlil-Joel pairing we’ve seen. … I think it’s fair to say, mostly, there’s nothing 100 percent certain with all of this.”
“Defensively, it’s obviously going to be to our advantage,” Noel said. “It has its hits and misses with playing big lineups like tomorrow. Maybe it’s beneficial because they have Gorgui (Dieng) and Karl (-Anthony Towns), so it evens out a little bit. I think we’ll be able to play just fine.”
Noel and Embiid may pair better together, but whether they are the long-term answer is another question. And all of the dynamics will change when Ben Simmons steps on the court as the primary playmaker. Ultimately, Dario Saric may be the best call at the four.
It’s no secret that the Sixers will listen to trade offers for Noel or Okafor, they have an overcrowded front line that doesn’t fit all that well together. If they are going to trade Noel, they need to showcase him, which is one of the reasons he needs to get on the court.
Expect Noel and Okafor to come up in a lot of trade rumors by the deadline — and maybe in a trade.