The Philadelphia 76ers apparently are trying to make a big splash atop the 2016 NBA Draft.
The Sixers are expected to take LSU’s Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in Thursday night’s draft, but they’re also reportedly trying to acquire the third overall pick. ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford reported Thursday afternoon that Philly is intensifying its efforts to acquire the No. 3 pick from the Boston Celtics.
On the surface, the Celtics and Sixers seem like obvious trade partners. The C’s reportedly have been looking to move the third pick with the hopes of acquiring an established player they can add to their already established core. Could that player be Nerlens Noel?
The New Orleans Pelicans drafted Noel with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft before shipping him to Philadelphia a month later. A knee injury caused him to miss the entire 2013-14 season. In two NBA seasons since, he’s averaged 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
The Malden, Mass., native wouldn’t solve the Celtics’ offensive issues — the consensus is that Boston needs to add at least one scorer in order to become a true contender — but he would benefit Boston on the defensive end, especially around the rim. Noel stands 6-foot-11 and is pretty athletic for his size.
The 76ers, meanwhile, reportedly are looking to add a guard, which they could do if they’re able to trade for the third pick.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman also reported the Sixers aren’t alone in their interest in the No. 3 pick.
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