This deal is being proposed by CBS Sports. I’ve seen worse!
- Marcus Smart for Nerlens Noel
Some people are very high on Smart’s potential. In many ways, he’s a lot like Noel — a lights-out defender with elite potential on that end, but a serious project on the offensive end. Smart, in fact, had the worst two-year shooting start to a career in NBA history, but he’s a better offensive weapon than you’d assume and did show flashes of a work-in-progress jumper in the playoffs.
From the Sixers’ perspective, this addresses their perimeter issues, and while you could argue you’re selling low on Noel here, you could also argue you’d be buying low on Smart. For Boston, it would be all about roster flexibility.
The Celtics are guard-heavy at the moment, and adding Noel would give them one of the best defensive frontcourts in basketball (if not the best) with Jae Crowder, Noel and Horford. Also, he’d be a great lob partner for guys like Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley to use in the pick-and-roll. You can play Noel with Kelly Olynyk, as well, to cover up Olynyk’s defensive issues.
Look, it’s not a perfect deal for either side, but it’s not bad at all. It’s something both sides should be thinking about right now. It could end up yielding great value both ways in a win-win down the road.