That being said, let's discuss some "findings" from the 8 sloppy summer league games in Utah and Las Vegas. This edition will be strictly focused on this year's top pick and hopefully future meal ticket: Jahlil Okafor.
Another impressive facet of his game was his ability to escape the double team or find an open teammate. His ginormous hands give him the ability to get deep post position, use one arm to stave off the defender and the other to catch the ball one handed, all without having to jump forward or leave his initial position in the post. This ability to get post position caused many teams to throw double teams his way. Jah avoided getting happy feet, like most young big men fall victim to, and instead was incredibly patient under duress. He used step throughs and other fancy footwork to give himself space to either attack the rim or find an open teammate. His summer league best was 3 assists (twice) but it should be mentioned that he made some eye opening passes particularly outside the arc to three point shooters which is an encouraging sign for a team that I think will adopt the half court playing style of Dwight Howard's magic team, that had superman anchored in the paint surrounded by a plethora of shooters.
To quickly touch on a few other things I liked, Jah was impressive on the offensive boards, he caught everything thrown his way, he will be a magnet for being on the receiving end of foul calls, and his post defense was solid if unspectacular.
Now on to the not so good stuff. Defense comes as billed. He is uncomfortable guarding the perimeter. He gives his man far too much space to get off his shot. On top of that, his pick and roll defense will be how other teams go after the big man game in and game out until he shows improvement.
His athleticism and conditioning also need work. I knew he wasn't a high flyer but for a 6'11 center with a 7'5 wingspan, he sure plays under the basket a lot more than I'd expect. He also seemed to tire out at the end of some games. His conditioning will be much better by the time the season starts but the athleticism for the most part will be the same. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to seasoned bigs who are more athletic than he is.
Defensive rebounding could also use more work, a lot of it having to do motor and being more active when the ball goes up. Lastly foul shooting looked atrocious. For how many times he's going to get to the line this season, anything under 50% isn't acceptable. Shooting under 50% will cost the Sixers close games and the ability to run an offense through Jaws in the final minutes of games if teams choose to implement the Hack-a-Shaq (which they almost certainly will).
Overall the summer league flashed more signs of promising things to come from the Sixers' first selection from the 2015 draft than things to be concerned about. Don't get me wrong, big Jah has a long way to go before he can "dominate" like he says he plans to but he'll also be able to step in from day 1 and put points on the board which is an invaluable attribute for a big man. There's a lot to be excited about for the 2015-2016 Sixers and it all starts with the newest big man in the post.
By: Leo Porth
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