Marcus Hayes, Inexplicably, Wants The Sixers to Keep Three Centers
The potential Jahlil Okafor trade shall unth hath be thou topic du jour, and poop head Marcus Hayes has thrown his corn nuggets into the ring, arguing that the Sixers should keep all three centers:
The point: Young centers take years to reach their potential.
The relevance: The Sixers have three young centers: Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. They control all three for at least one more season.
The reality: They have no idea how good any of them will be. They have no idea how durable they will be. They have no idea how valuable they might become. At no point this season did they have a serious chance of reaching the playoffs, and had even less of a chance of winning a playoff series, regardless of what type of player they added to their lineup by trading one of the Big Three.
Here we have Hayes, a staunch anti-tank man who argued against throwing seasons away, positing that the Sixers should keep three centers, who can’t possibly coexist, and continue a wait-and-see approach until each of them matures and reaches their prime. It’s almost like those things are… contradictory.
Hayes notes that Embiid compares favorably as a rookie to Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson, and then mentions that each of those greats continued to improve (no shit!) as they got older, arguing that Noel and Okafor will do the same. What a novel concept– young centers improving. Thanks for your valued contribution, poop face. Got anything else?
Similarly: What if Okafor suddenly becomes infected with a desire to rebound and defend?
Of course, Okafor’s uninterest in defense might be rooted in disability. He missed the last 23 games of last season and six preseason games with a knee injury that seems to continually hinder him. Knee soreness cost him a game Saturday.
Conversely: What if he doesn’t?
The difference between Embiid and Okafor is that Embiid is clearly a few rungs up the ladder and, thus far, Okafor, who has literally been playing for his job, can’t seem to muster enough energy to even attempt to defend or rebound. If this situation can’t infect him with the desire to do so, what will? It’s not like he was defending and rebounding before his injury last year, either.
There’s certainly an argument to be made for a big man with Okafor’s skills. But the Sixers have reached a point where it’s time to move forward and a decision needs to be made, if not now, then in the offseason. Three lottery pick centers can’t coexist. For someone who has continuously blasted the process and the impact it can have on young players, it’s mind-boggling that Hayes would present this scenario as a viable option. Keeping Okafor as an insurance policy on Embiid (Hayes’ idea) is a non-starter because there is no evidence that he will ever be able to match Embiid’s talent or fill his role on the team. And anyone with two eyes not obstructed by fecal smear can see that Noel is simply the better player thus far. If someone is offering a first round pick for Okafor, then you take it. It’s that simple.