But was it Nerlens Noel that general manager Sam Hinkie had his eyes on the whole time? The answer appears to be "not quite." CSN Philly is reporting that Hinkie and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps had the deal in place days before the draft even rolled around.
The report states that the deal would have happened if UNLV forward Anthony Bennett (who went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers), Indiana guard Victor Oladipo (who went No. 2 overall to the Orlando Magic), or Noel fell to Pelicans. Noel slipped to No. 6 and the Pelicans pulled the trigger.
Noel won't be ready to play until December but he was, seemingly, the consensus top pick until draft night. This was a fantastic trade for a team (the Sixers) that had been trapped in mediocrity and needed a breath of fresh air. However, I was a huge fan of Oladipo at Indiana and would have loved to have him in Philadelphia.
Oh well, I still really like what Hinkie is doing for the franchise.
Now, if they could only hire a coach...
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports