NBA Draft Lottery: Would you trade Michael Carter-Williams to land number one pick?


It seems like forever ago, that the Sixers pulled off a draft-day shocker and traded Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a protected first-round pick in this year’s draft. That move was followed up by selecting future rookie of the year, Michael Carter-Williams. At that time, it was evident that the Sixers were headed for one of the worst seasons in franchise-history, en route to trying to land the number one pick, in a draft that was expected to be one of the best in NBA history.

Here we are almost a year later, and not much has changed. Carter-Williams had an extremely impressive rookie season, but showed flaws during a 19-63 season that saw a fanbase try to get energized every night to root for their team to lose. The draft is even more stacked that we originally anticipated, with the likes of Joel Embiid joining Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker as names that could be taken in the top three. But what if the disaster scenario unfolds that sees the Sixers land the number four or five pick in the draft? I mean, that would be so Philly.

I’d like to think that I see things clearly in regards to Carter-Williams. He isn’t a great jump-shooter, but we already knew that. He is raw on defense, but considering that he played on one of the worst defensive teams in league history and has great length for his position, that can certainly be improved. He probably isn’t going to develop into the type of player who can be the number one option on a championship contending team, but when was he supposed to be? Carter-Williams was the 11th pick, and selected to be one of the franchise cornerstones, but  not THE franchise player. And after one season, isn’t that what he looks like?

So tonight, after enduring one of the most unwatchable seasons in franchise history, we will learn whether the Sixers get the option to take THE franchise player at the top of the draft,whoever they should deem to be worthy of it, or not. Ideally, the Sixers will get the number one pick (which they have the second highest odds to get) and they will have their choice of Parker, Wiggins or Embiid. Should they get the fourth of fifth pick, they could still look at someone like Kentucky’s Julius Randle, who would be another cornerstone type player, but likely not the superstar that Sam Hinkie needs for his analytics plan to produce a title.

So after a year of tanking, are the Sixers in a position where they need to go all-out to get the number one pick in this year’s draft? Technically, they could tank all over again next year, but the reward of a number one pick next year likely won’t be what it is this year. The reward of the number pick next year might not even mean what landing the two or three pick in this year’s draft means. So on the chance that the Sixers fall out of the top three, or feel like they need to be in the number one slot (meaning the number two or three pick wouldn’t be enough to take who they want), would you entertain the idea of packaging Carter-Williams and a top-five pick to move up?

We asked some of our staff members what their answer to this potentially franchise-changing question would be, on what is one of the most important days in Philadelphia sports this millennium.

Somers Price-Section 215 Co-Editor

Answer: Not a chance

I would not make the move to trade up for one of those three prospects if the pick and Michael Carter-Williams was the price. Though MCW has flaws in his game, he demonstrated value that went far beyond the stat sheet last season that makes me think the team may have landed a truly special player with the 11th overall pick last season. In a season that was doomed from the start, Carter-Williams managed to stand out in some of the team’s more high-profile games, he shined against his home team in Boston (something that could be a very valuable trend over the years), and he was willing to go through all of the lumps and tough love that a franchise point-guard has to go through. 

In addition, as big a fan as I am of the three top prospects mentioned, none of them seems to be the ‘sure thing’ one would pay such a ransom for. I have more confidence that Nerlens Noel can step in next season and put together a rookie of the year campaign than any of Parker, Wiggins, or Embiid. That’s not to necessarily say I think Noel has superior talent, but too many questions were brought up of every prospect expected to go in the early stages of the lottery to put the future of the franchise at stake like that. Carter-Williams is as untouchable a player as there is in the city, in my opinion.

Section 215’s Steve Lafreniere says that he would move Michael Carter-Williams for a shot to take Andrew Wiggins, but not his college teammate Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Lafreniere-Section 215 Staff Writer

Answer: Only for Andrew Wiggins

If the Sixers fall out of the top three spots in the draft lottery, I would certainly try to use some leverage to get back up there. I think Andrew Wiggins would be worth moving up for, but not Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid. Basically, if I don’t have a shot at landing the number one pick, I don’t move up.

 Wiggins is raw, but I think as he realizes his physical potentially, he can turn into one of the top five players in the NBA. Trading Michael Carter-Williams would be a huge gamble, but with the Sixers second pick in the first round (as long as New Orleans pick isn’t in the top five), they could land another point-guard.

This past season was a flop for one reason–to be able to draft a star player and continue to build a title contender from the bottom up. Without that player, it will have been a putrid season, that just accomplished  helping the Sixers to be a good team, but not a title contender. All in for Wiggins is what I’m hoping for, even if it comes at the expense of Michael Carter-Williams. 

Aaron Mazer-Section 215 Staff Writer

Answer: Too confident in the Carter-Williams/Noel duo’s potential to break it up

I don’t see why the Sixers would have to move up in the draft. The Sixers are in a very favorable position at the moment, being that they have the current rookie of the year in Michael Carter-Williams and a healthy Nerlens Noel expected to start the 2014-15 season. Those two could prove to be a dominant duo.

This is a loaded draft, and anyone taken in the top five not only has superstar potential themselves, but will become better from playing with those two. Not to mention, barring a second lottery upset, the Sixers will have two first-round picks this year.

There is no reason for the Sixers to try to move MCW after the year he had. Sure he has value in a trade, but why is that? Maybe because he is a young player who hasn’t even sniffed his ceiling individually. Even if the Sixers don’t land a pick where they could draft Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid, landing someone like Julius Randle wouldn’t doom the franchise. There is no reason to throw away your best and brightest player for a CHANCE at landing a superstar.