In a move for the future, the Philadelphia 76ers traded their best player in order to get an injured lottery pick with great potential.
Numbers Game looks at the move sending PG Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for highly-touted C Nerlens Noel.
The Pelicans Get: PG Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick in the 2013 draft (used to take PG Pierre Jackson).
Jrue Holiday, 23, is coming off a career-best season in which he scored 17.7 points and had 8.0 assists with 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He's at the low end of a rare group of players that scored 17 points with seven assists, four rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, as LeBron James and Russell Westbrook were the only other players to meet all those thresholds.
For all that statistical production, Holiday's defensive play wasn't as effective as it had been in previous seasons, perhaps a reflection of his increased offensive workload, as he attempted a career-high 16.5 shots per game.
Nevertheless, as well as Greivis Vasquez played for New Orleans last season, Holiday is a better option going forward, both as an offensive creator and on the defensive end of the floor.
Signed for four years and $44-million, Holiday is a quality addition for the Pelicans, one that could push them towards contending for a playoff spot next season, provided that PF Anthony Davis and SG Eric Gordon can stay healthy.
Jackson is a decent value pick at No. 42. He's a small (5-foot-11) and quick point guard who can get to the rim and shoot a little bit, so he could give the Pelicans nice depth at the position, if he sticks.
The 76ers Get: C Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick.
Nerlens Noel was the sixth pick in the 2013 draft, slipping from what likely would have been the top selection had he remained healthy. Unfortunately, Noel suffered a torn ACL in February, putting his status for next season in doubt, but a year to rehabilitate his injury will also allow Noel time to get stronger, as he's a very lean 7-footer.
The 19-year-old is still a work in progress offensively -- he didn't score 20 points in any of his 24 games at Kentucky, though he did shoot 59.0% from the field -- but he's athletic and young enough that he has time to develop that aspect of his game.
The addition of Noel, at the cost of their best player last season, makes it likely that the Sixers will struggle next season, but that's part of the plan. The pick they receive from New Orleans is protected for picks 1-5, but gives the Sixers another potential lottery asset to go with their own pick that is likely going to be in the lottery too. Those two picks plus Noel will become the building blocks for the future of the franchise.
Whichever team ended up taking Noel in this draft was facing the prospect of one step back to take two steps forward and the Sixers were bold enough to take that chance.
For the Pelicans, they already have their Kentucky shot blocker -- last year's No. 1 pick, Anthony Davis -- and have enough pieces to show a little more urgency in their bid to become a playoff contender.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.