The Philadelphia 76ers are struggling at the bottom of the Eastern Conference this NBA season. With practically nonexistent chances of taking over the top spot from the likes of LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, Derrick Rose's Chicago Bulls, and Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat, the Jahlil Okafor squad would be better off rebuilding its roster. However, the rebuilding efforts of the Philadelphia 76ers appear to be harder than expected.
Given that the NBA team boasts of talents like Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Imbiid, it's surprising how they fail to dominate the hardwood court. In fact, the absence of Imbiid in the Philadelphia 76ers matches should have opened doors for both Okafor and Noel to exhibit their strengths. However, the coaching staff appeared to have exhausted all efforts to establish a strategy to maximize both bigs in the hardwood court. That is, the Kentucky and Duke alums failed to establish a good working chemistry together.
The situation of Okafor and Noel, however, becomes more precarious this season. Embiid is reportedly on his way to a speedy recovery. The Kansas alum had to undergo a bone graft procedure for the broken navicular bone in his right foot. Embiid missed the entire 2014-15 NBA season, with the subsequent basketball year once again in danger of getting wasted. However, head coach Brett Brown assured Philadelphia 76ers fans that the Cameroonian star could get back in the game soon.
"I think everybody sort of sees more of him for a reason," said Brown of Embiid in an official NBA press release. The head coach added, "We think he's heading in a really, really positive direction, both physically and mentally. We're going at a pace that we're all happy with. We understand how crucial it is that we don't miss a beat and he does, too."
With the recovery of Embiid in mind, rumors are now circulating that either Okafor or Noel will have to exit the Philadelphia 76ers. As all three men play center, it would be too crowded for the team to keep them. Moreover, neither Okafor nor Noel showed any strong inclination of taking on a different role in court.
"Everything will come down to Joel Embiid. That's the big question," disclosed an executive to Philly.com. The source, who asked to remain unnamed, added, "If Embiid can play, then in my opinion, they will have to trade Okafor, because Embiid and Okafor cannot play together. If Embiid can't play, then they have to decide whether to keep both Noel and Okafor. But the combination hasn't worked out. Or they can trade one of the two and see if they can get strength at another position because, basically right now, they have three centers."
The executive further noted that Noel will be a better match for the Philadelphia 76ers. He shared, "I think Noel is more of a winning player because he affects the game in a lot of areas, where Okafor really affects the game in one area: scoring."
Moreover, the executive pointed out that Imbiid will work better with Noel than with Okafor. While the Duke alum is remarkable on his own right, Noel's abilities look to be more fitting to compliment the skills of Imbiid.
"They are both centers," said the league executive of Okafor and Imbiid. He added, "They both can only guard centers. They can't defend power forwards or stretch fours in this league."
The same sentiments had been indirectly expressed by Brown. When asked who between Okafor and Noel can adapt to a changing role, the Philadelphia 76ers coach chose the latter. He said, "I don't think Jahlil can chase guys like the Rudy Gays and Kevin Loves. I don't think he can do it. Nerlens can better do it."