PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Every Sixer fan throughout the Delaware Valley must have let out an audible sigh after the Los Angeles Lakers took D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, but the Sixers got a decent consolation prize in 6-foot-10, 275-pound Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Increasing Patrols Ahead Of Fourth Of July Weekend
How the Okafor will fit with fellow Sixer bigs Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid is anyone’s guess.
In 32 games, Okafor was named ACC Player of the Year as a freshman, after averaging 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and shot 66.4 percent from the floor.
Okafor is considered one of the more advanced post players in the draft. He has great footwork around the basket, and has shown great strength inside. He’s shown an ability to deal well with double teams, and can handle the ball for someone his size. Okafor has a nice shooting touch around the basket, and in time, his range can expand. He can be a force on the offensive glass, and though he’s not a powerful leaper, he does run the floor very well for someone 6-10.
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One scouting report said “Okafor can be very difficult to defend one-on-one, constantly draws attention from the defense down low that can lead to a lot of open looks for perimeter players. He can also draw a lot of fouls. He had nearly 100 more fouls drawn than fouls he committed. A strength is his ability to fight through contact. Is very coachable, plus while he does display intensity at times, never really appears to lose his focus.”
As for weaknesses, his conditioning has been questioned. He can get heavy. He also lacks lateral quickness and sometimes can be lackadaisical on defense, especially with little things like boxing out. Another glaring issue is 51.1-percent shooting from the free throw line.
One scouting report stated about Okafor “Even if he did have a really high number of possessions used, his turnovers numbers were quite high, will be something to work on … His effort level has been under a microscope at times, some wonder whether he goes hard every possession … Lack of athleticism will hurt on defense, which might not make him the most ideal “franchise big man”, hard to name players who have had successful teams around them who have struggled defending the post … Foul trouble was not a major issue, but it might become more of one upon facing pro speed … Not a natural shot blocker, usually gets blocks with length alone and rarely leaves his feet, not an ideal rim protector … While he got fouled quite often, he really did not take as many FT’s as one would think, possible reluctance to get to the line? … Post skills are fantastic, though adding a nice bank shot or hook shot might be an area of focus to further diversify his offense.”
The looming question is the tanking scheme of Sixers’ general manager Sam Hinkie working? Hardly any of their desired plans have to fruition. The health of Embiid’s right foot is an issue. The aim was Russell—and the Sixers wound up with Okafor, adding more confusion to a roster and team that’s rife with confusion.MORE NEWS: 8 Adults, 1 Juvenile Injured In Newark Drive-By Shooting: Officials
Has the tanking, which has alienated a segment of long-time Sixer fans, been worth it?