Sixers move past Celtics; Jahlil Okafor solid in showing


The Summer Sixers were victorious in their second game of the Utah Summer League, defeating the Boston Celtics 76-62. The first half really made me question why I like basketball, but the Sixers came around in the second half and upped the play from “horrific” to “terrible but watchable.”

Jahlil Okafor didn’t put up the scoring numbers he did in game one, nor did he have a dominant stretch of play, but it was another solid outing for the Philadelphia big man. He put up 13 points to go with nine rebounds.

Okafor continued to show off his post moves and soft touch around the basket. When he gets position down low, he’s a handful to handle. He’s also apt at drawing contact, getting to the line six times in his 28 minutes of play. He shot better from the charity stripe, going 3-for-6, but it’s still an obvious weak point of his game.

Okafor’s play Tuesday night was even more impressive when you consider a couple of things. Firstly, no one on outside of T.J. McConnell can pass the ball. I wish that were hyperbole, but it isn’t. When McConnell wasn’t in the game, the chances Okafor received a semi-decent entry pass was low.

For any big man who’s game is predicated in the post, it’s going to be difficult to have much of an impact if Jordan McRae is responsible for getting you the ball.

Secondly, Okafor already looked fatigued by the five-minute mark of the 1st quarter. It’s not all that surprising, though, when you consider that it’s Summer League, and they’re playing in Salt Lake City. So I was surprised to see Okafor go nearly 30 minutes, and look pretty solid even when looking tired.

He’ll definitely need to get in better shape, and maybe I just had lower standards but I was moderately impressed with his endurance.

The Other Guys

T.J. McConnell: Like I said above, he’s literally the only guy that’s really looking for Okafor. There was a couple times in the game where he probably should have shot the ball, but instead made the extra pass. That’s not necessarily something you want to make a habit out of but in Summer League where everybody else is just looking for their shot, it’s nice to see someone still playing team basketball.

Furkan Aldemir: What? Furkan went off in the second half yesterday, going 3-of-5 from long distance. It’s an extremely slow shot, but it actually does get good rotation. I’m confident in saying that Furkan isn’t the next Matt Bonner, but if he can have any resemblance of a jumper his value will really increase.

Richaun Holmes: I like Holmes. His shot wasn’t falling from distance, but still had a good game putting up 13 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. He’s athletic, can block shots, is a good defender, and has a solid jump shot. You can put him next to any of Okafor, Noel, or Embiid and he fits.

Jerami Grant: He had a much better game against the Celtics, putting up an efficient 12 points and five rebounds. With Grant, it all comes down to his jumper. If he can develop a consistent jump shot, he’s a starting small forward that can play some power forward in a small-ball lineup.

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