With Young trade, more planning for future

Posted: August 26, 2014

THE THREE-team trade that became official on Saturday, sending Thaddeus Young to the Minnesota Timberwolves and bringing the Sixers two expiring contracts and a first-round draft pick, enhanced the plan that general manager Sam Hinkie has put into place.

There is no now. There is only the future.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the big winners, getting Kevin Love to pair with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Minnesota received last year's first overall pick, Anthony Bennett, along with this year's top selection, Andrew Wiggins. The Sixers gathered combo guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute as well as a first-round pick from Cleveland, which the Cavs owned from the Miami Heat. That pick is top 10 protected in the 2015 and 2016 drafts, then not protected in 2017.

So what do the Sixers look like for this coming season, a year after they posted 19 wins and 63 losses?

There is a starting point guard in Michael Carter-Williams who was the rookie of the year last season. There is a lot of promise following a 16.7 point, 6.3 assist and 6.2 rebound campaign, but there was also a torn labrum surgery in his right, shooting shoulder that not only hindered his offseason workouts but could stutter the beginning of the upcoming one.

Nerlens Noel, who missed all of last season after knee surgery and played sparingly in the two Summer Leagues last month, will be stuffed in as the team's starting power forward. Problem with him is he got nicked a few times during those games and appears incapable of holding on to the needed weight to play a strong spot in the lane.

Most likely, second-year guard Hollis Thompson will be manning the shooting guard spot, and then there is everybody else.

Rookies K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant and Rodney McRae should see significant time. Backup combo guard Tony Wroten will be a major player and big man Henry Sims should see a lot of minutes as a protector to Noel in the paint.

And where do Shved and Mbah a Moute fit in?

Both were brought in for one main reason - their expiring contracts. Mbah a Moute will make close to $4.4 million this season, Shved at about $3.2 million. The caveat is that Mbah a Moute has been a mentor to Joel Embiid, whom the Sixers chose with this year's third overall pick. Both are from Cameroon, and while Embiid will most likely be sidelined for this season rehabbing from fractured foot surgery, Mbah a Moute no doubt will provide a stabilizing influence to the rookie.

Mbah a Moute, who will turn 28 in a few weeks, has been a spot-player during his six seasons, never averaging more than eight points. He is a decent rebounder, grabbing almost five a game over about 24 minutes, but doesn't bring much else. The 25-year-old Shved has averaged just 6.5 points during his first two seasons and shot only 35.8 percent from the floor.

During his 7 years here, Young averaged 13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the floor. Taken with the 12th overall pick in 2007 out of Georgia Tech, the 6-8 forward had his best season in the league this past year when he averaged 17.9 points and six rebounds while enduring a 19-63 campaign. Like he did much of his time with the Sixers, Young changed a big part of his game as he made 90 three-pointers last season after making a combined 118 in his previous 6 years.

How does this transaction help the Sixers for the upcoming season? Probably not much. How will it help them in the future? It's another stockpiling of assets by Hinkie. When those assets will pay dividends is anyone's guess right now.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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