It’s officially official. It’s been a week since Sam Hinkie sent Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee at the trade deadline, but last night was the first time MCW saw the floor for the Bucks. Against his old team, no less. Things did not go well for the Sixers, but let’s talk about some positives. Here’s what you’ve been missing if you haven’t been paying attention to the Sixers.
1) Though whispers came out of the trade deadline saying the Sixers were listening to offers on Joel Embiid, he’s still here. And according to Grantland, he’s got real value. Embiid was ranked the 35th best asset in the league in Bill Simmons’ annual trade value column. In the entire league. Simmons closed out his praise for Embiid with a lazy and tired dig at the Sixers’ plan, but it’s still a positive.
2) Nerlens Noel’s jumper (and foul shooting) are starting to come together. As Max Rappaport says, the Sixers coaching staff rebuilt his shot from the ground up, and they’re finally seeing it pay off. Here is Nerlens’ shot chart from the start of the season until January, via StatMuse:
And, with an admittedly smaller sample size, here it is in February:
That’s some real improvement. Additionally, Noel shot 50% from the free throw line from October through December. Since then, he’s shooting 67% from the line (and getting there at a much higher rate). It’s still not incredible, but it’s good to see real offensive growth from a player who came in as strictly a defensive prospect. Continue Reading