March 02, 2017
Jahlil Okafor is never going to be the type of player that can blitz pick-and-rolls and blow them up like Joel Embiid or Nerlens Noel. He’s always going to play a more conservative coverage, hanging back toward the basket. Because of this, his activity level on the defensive end of the floor will always be lower than a big man in a more aggressive scheme.
But this play from last night’s loss in Miami… this is something else, a stone-cold lock to make tonight’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool”:
Based on this evidence, we don't think Jahlil Okafor will win Defensive Player of the Year honors 👀🏆 pic.twitter.com/UsJXFRQCAV— Shaqtin' a Fool (@shaqtin) March 2, 2017
Look, everybody in the NBA has embarrassing play. The problem is that anyone who has watched the Sixers over the past couple of years can tell you that this one instance is symptomatic of a larger issue. Frankly, Okafor doesn’t care about defense as much as he needs to.
“There are times, you saw offensive brilliance tonight with some really amazing individual moves,” Brett Brown said after the game. “Then other times, you realize he’s got a long way to go defensively as far as a sustained type of effort and understanding of the defensive side of all of this. But he’s been fantastic.”
Brown is understandably appreciative of how Okafor handled being in trade rumors, and he’s publicly underselling the lack of effort. I really hope for Okafor's sake that he quickly realizes that level of not giving a [redacted] is flat-out not going to cut it.
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