Sixers Player News: Defense of Jahlil Okafor

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Jul 14, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) is defended by New York Knicks forward

Kristaps Porzingis

(46) during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Shakedown, breakdown, you’re busted…

Basketball analysts are very detailed in assessing prospects for the NBA.   But the fact is their ability is oftentimes limited to box scores and tape.   It’s not a bad limitation, as it does give some level of validation.  But the circumstances of the player, the team, and the game are washed over.   Garbage points from a team far behind can make a youtube highlight film, showing a player who struggles in heated competition lighting it up when the game is already far out of reach. Duke’s team was good, very good.  So when the coffin is nailed shut on Jahlil Okafor, I set out to find evidence to counter that.  All I could find was this video of his defensive work:

Here’s some summer league video. The work is against other NBA newcomers and shows consistant offense. Okafor will bring a new post presence to a team seeking offensive help this year. The arrival of the 19 year old Duke center, while unexpected, is certainly well timed.

Okafor looks relaxed in this setting. His offensive game looks polished. With the coaching of Brown, and the athletic training of Dr. Martin ahead of him, his game will only improve. Improve from what? As always, we have more videos to show you

I’m not promising the best of the NBA. But I’m confident that the game of a 19 year rookie center will continue to evolve, develop, improve, and expand. Jahlil Okafor is young, motivated, and has a great work ethic. Under the tutelage of Brett Brown, he’ll certainly be given every opportunity to learn under a patient coach and mentor.   This team is harnessing the best to develop players. With a player of Okafor’s caliber, the results could end up spectacular.

Far too many have viewed video of the 19 year old center and already concluded “that’s as good as it gets”. No. Busted. That’s the worst it gets. He’s under one of the most progressive professional basketball programs in the NBA right now. Training, nutrition, hydration, shot selection and more have been addressed.  Now it’s a matter of time and effort, and we know we have that.

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