I wrote the comment below under the other Noel trade article. It’s relevant here too. I would add that while everyone is all over Porzingas now, Jackson was pretty universally panned for the pick at the time, from what I recall. The top three in the draft were pretty much the consensus elite, and you would have been taking a real risk picking someone else. Either way, Embiid and Noel weren’t really “swing for the fences” picks either. They were high value because they dropped in the draft due to neither being able to play for at least a year. Since the Sixers didn’t want to win anyway, it suited them perfectly to stock up on talent while still tanking for next year’s draft.
I went to the Celtics-Sixers game last week, and I really liked Noel. He had bounce, he stayed within himself, and you could tell that he had room to grow if he picked up a few go-to offensive moves in the post. No idea if he’ll ever pick up a jump shot or anything like that, but definitely a player you’d like to have on your team.
Okafor, on the other hand, basically tried to make a move and score every time he got the ball. He clearly has the athletic ability, but he kept losing control and turning the ball over. Either way, it stopped the offense, and I can see that driving a coach nuts, especially with a fringe player like Okafor.
The only reason I could see for the Sixers making this trade is that they had decided they weren’t going to pay Noel when he became a FA, and they wanted to get something out of him. Pure value though, it seems heavily in favor of the Mavs.
To add to this, I get the feeling he’s a Deandre Jordan type who is going to benefit a lot from not having to create his own offense, and having good players around him who can feed him easy buckets to finish off.