NBA Trade Grades: Mavericks Add Nerlens Noel From 76ers

Feb 11, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) in action against the Miami Heat during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Trade Grades

Feb 11, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) in action against the Miami Heat during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With the Dallas Mavericks landing Nerlens Noel for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut and a protected pick in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, here are some NBA Trade Grades.

With the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline rapidly approaching, the first deal of Thursday morning was an unexpected but pleasant surprise — for one fanbase, at least.

As first reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Dallas Mavericks have agreed to send Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a 2017 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for big man Nerlens Noel.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the first-rounder would be top-18 protected.

Mavericks get C – Nerlens Noel

76ers get C – Andrew Bogut
SF – Justin Anderson
2017 1st round pick

After shipping away a useful stretch-4 like Ersan Ilyasova on Wednesday, the spirit of Sam Hinkie and the Process lived on in Philly. The center logjam still needed to be cleared however, even with the incoming Tiago Splitter unlikely to ever play for the Sixers.

As for the Mavs, they had been shopping Bogut for awhile, and were finally able to move him for a buy-low candidate with tons of upside.

The question is, how did each side fare in this trade? To sort it all out, here are new NBA Trade Grades.

NBA Trade Grades

Feb 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Justin Anderson (1) in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers

After snagging a pair of second round picks and securing more playing time for Dario Saric with the Ilyasova trade on Wednesday, Thursday morning’s deal was a disappointing follow-up for Bryan Colangelo’s trade deadline.

The Sixers were actively shopping Jahlil Okafor to teams like the New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, but were either unable to dump him on anyone, or unwilling to do so for such a low return in the end. This led to the Nerlens Noel deal, with the Sixers trading the more valuable of their two expendable big men.

Joel Embiid is the franchise star, that much is clear. But by not playing Embiid and Noel together more this season, the Sixers may have made a grave mistake in trading the wrong backup — even if Noel’s value was low because of his injury-proneness, dwindling production and less than savory attitude about his situation.

Though Noel started the season injured and watched his numbers drop to 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 19.4 minutes per game, he was starting to find his rhythm again in recent weeks. He still has Defensive Player of the Year potential at age 22 and just averaged 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks per game last season.

Instead of keeping Noel, the Sixers moved him for an aging center they’ll be trying to flip in another trade before Thursday’s deadline, a young wing and a first round pick that is highly unlikely to convey this year.

For Philly to get that pick in 2017, the Mavs would have to climb past the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets into a playoff spot…and keep climbing, because they’d need the 11th best record in the NBA (A.K.A. the 19th overall pick) for the Sixers to get it.

So essentially, the Sixers traded Noel — the wrong center candidate to trade — for Justin Anderson, depending on what future protections there are on the first-rounder.

Anderson is only 23 years old and could be a great flier pickup on a team that can afford him plenty of minutes. He’s already a terrific defender and addresses a position of need moving forward with the Sixers’ rebuild.

However, Anderson doesn’t have the same upside as someone like Noel, and even with Noel’s restricted free agency presenting an issue, Anderson’s lack of a jumper will determine just how successful his NBA career is.

For now, Noel is the better player AND he’s younger. Justin Anderson is shooting just 40.2 percent from the floor and 30.3 percent from three-point range.

This deal might look better if the Sixers can flip Bogut’s expiring contract to a contender for the right price, but if they’re unable to do so in the next few hours, the big Aussie will simply become a buyout candidate.

With Embiid, Okafor, Splitter and Richaun Holmes all on the roster, he likely won’t ever play a game for Philadelphia.

This grade may need revising depending on what the Sixers get out of a Bogut trade and what the other protections on the first round pick are once it fails to convey in 2017, but for now, Philly moved an expendable center for an acceptable return to clear their logjam. Unfortunately, they dealt the wrong one.

Grade: C-

NBA Trade Grades

Nov 16, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots past Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks

This deal is a major score for the Dallas Mavericks. Not only did they manage to get rid of Bogut’s expiring deal, but they actually put it to good use on a defensive-minded center who could help the Mavs chase a playoff spot this season and be a fixture in the frontcourt for years to come.

Though Noel’s numbers are down, part of that can be attributed to an inconsistent role within a crowded frontcourt. Part of it could just be shaking off rust from injury, but either way, Noel has more to offer than the 3.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks Bogut was averaging in 22.4 minutes per game.

Though Noel’s status as a restricted free agent was probably a deterrent to other teams, the Mavs have long needed a rim-protecting 5 to cover for Dirk Nowitzki on the defensive end, so it’s no surprise they’ll be willing to give him an extension this summer.

Despite his apparent attitude problems, Noel is still young and the Mavs didn’t have to give up much to get him. The team was high on Justin Anderson, but his jumper hadn’t improved since first joining the team as the 21st overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

By snagging the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Mavs are starting to bolster a young core that includes Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry, Dwight Powell and Yogi Ferrell. There’s reason to be excited about this team’s future again, but Noel could also help in the present.

Rick Carlisle is the kind of coach that can get the best out of Noel, and whether the Mavericks miss the playoffs or not, their 2017 first round pick is highly unlikely to convey.

That means the Mavs can be as competitive as they want without fear of losing their pick by making the postseason. It also means they can accept the scenario where they miss the playoffs, because it will end in a lottery selection.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the deal also created two trade exceptions for Dallas.

It may seem a bit early to ship off a promising defensive player like Justin Anderson, but the Mavericks scored one hell of a deal thanks to Philadelphia’s desperation to clear its center logjam.

Noel has much more upside, he helps Dallas both in the short-term and the long-term, and Mark Cuban didn’t even have to give up anything too big in the process.

Grade: A-

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