Sixers Player News: Defense of Jahlil Okafor

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March 24, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown holds the whiteboard during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

But they’re just wrong, I know they are, Cause I can play this here…

Okafor has arrived to an NBA team ripe for excitement, hype, and a little unfettered optimism. For two years the hopes and aspirations of the city of Philadelphia have been trapped into a time release capsule of general manager Sam Hinkie’s making – talent today for the rights to picks or talent tomorrow. That tomorrow is arriving now.
And so is Okafor.

"“He’s going to be a high double-double guy in the pros. He’s gifted. He’s got feet and hands that you can’t teach. He’s got an attitude that’s amazing. I think he’s the best player in the draft,” Coach Mike Krzyzewski on sportsradio with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd."

But the hype can only take this team so far. In the end, play defines the success of the team. Coach Brown knows this. Much like his NFL counterpart, Chip Kelly, Brown understands the way to leverage the athleticism of his team is to play fast. He set a goal of running a fast paced NBA team. Done. He set a goal of improving the defense but keeping the pace up. Done.

Now he adds to that group a young center who absolutely dominates the low post offensively and goes quiet in the post defensively. Does a young man of Okafor’s size and strength have enough quickness and ability to run the floor to keep the Brown pace up?

"“His presence places a real clarity what to do when it becomes a slow-down game. But I think there’s a lot more in him than just a horse in the post. To only use him that way, I think, is a disservice to his future. I think how Stan Van Gundy used Dwight Howard and pick-and-rolled him in the post. I watch his nimble footwork, the mobile side. I think he can get out and run. You’ve heard me say many times: My world is pace, space and pass. We want to continue to run. It’s a puzzle how we’re going to do things, but, at the same time, it’s fun to think things out. Once we learn more and ultimately declare to the marketplace what Joel’s future is, then I think that my challenge, our challenge, becomes more transparent. I think, in general, it’s both puzzling and most definitely exciting. Had I not worked a long time ago with Tim [Duncan] and David [Robinson] in San Antonio, you would be more confused and not see it as clear as I do. “"

And so, the right man in the right place at the right time. For Joel Embiid, the Sixers have Dr. David T. Martin. And for the arrival of Jahlil Okafor, the Sixers have head coach Brett Brown.

Next: Shake It Off