As I wrote earlier today, part of the job of media outlets between last week’s NBA Draft lottery and the June 26th draft, is to get as many possible draft stories as they can. Sometimes this mean passing along buzz that will likely turn out to be meaningless.
Today, in a piece that was insider only, ESPN’s Chad Ford laid out a scenario where the Sixers COULD draft Australian point-guard Dante Exum, and move Michael Carter-Williams.
The Philadelphia 76ers are Exum fans as well and if Wiggins is off the board, he’s in the mix. They think Exum and Carter-Williams could play together in the backcourt, though it would not be a very good shooting tandem. I think the more obvious fit comes if they trade Carter-Williams, an idea I’m told they have bounced around.
In the scenario that Wiggins is gone before the Sixers make a selection, why wouldn’t they take the better prospect in Joel Embiid and trade Nerlens Noel, who they have never actually seen play a game? It’s basically the same scenario, except if you move Noel, you are making a pretty certain upgrade, whereas a Carter-Williams trade would be trading the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year for a player with remarkable similar traits.
I’m not an Exum hater, but why would we move on from MCW for a player whose biggest flaw is also not being able to shoot very well? The idea of moving on from Carter-Williams is a classic case of a long-offseason of sports talk radio, influencing a whole fanbase to think that an unnecessary move makes sense. Three months ago, people would have scoffed at the idea of trading Carter-Williams, but a few sports radio hosts speculate about it, and it gains traction with fans.
I’m not expecting Carter-Williams to ever be an elite shooter, but pair an actual team around him and watch him become an elite defensive point-guard. With his wingspan, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be a very good defender, unless people around him aren’t holding onto their responsibilities, like last year. Along those same lines, if Carter-Williams averaged 6.3 assists per game with a D-League roster around him, what could he do in a few years, when we project that the Sixers will actually have a good team around him?
It would be one thing to consider moving him if a Derrick Rose-esque pointguard was available in this year’s draft, but to move him for a pick and hand the keys to the franchise over to a player who projects to be very similar to Carter-Williams, but has never actually proven anything at the NBA level, doesn’t make any sense.