Sunday, February 21, 2016


1) The ups and downs of the Jahlil Okafor Experience

Everything people loved and hated about Jahlil Okafor coming out of Duke and all of his strengths and his weaknesses were on full display on Sunday. On one side of the ledger, he had 31 points and 8 rebounds on 19 shots. On the other side, he had the worst plus/minus (-28) of anyone on the team. When Jahlil is holding the ball in the mid to high post, he's not looking to pass and there's no room for anyone else to cut to the rim. The odd thing is that he was a pretty good passer at Duke - has he decided to go full YOLO and just put up as many numbers as possible? As far as his defense goes, the less said about it the better. The basic problem is that he's slow and he's checked out on that side of the ball. You can be one or the other and survive in the NBA. You can't be both.

None of this is to say that he can't be a good defensive player eventually. He's not completely immobile and I don't think he's any slower than someone like Marc Gasol. The problem is that playing good interior defense is one of the hardest skills to pick up at the NBA level and that's when a guy is totally bought in and is trying his hardest to call out the opposing team's sets and anticipate what they are going to do before they do it. Jahlil still has to decide he wants to play defense before he can even worry about that learning curve.

It's not a real surprise and it's not really a knock on him that he hasn't bought in on that side of the ball. Not a lot of elite scorers come into the league trying to play defense - the problem is that you can somewhat hide a poor defender at any of the other positions on the floor. There's nowhere you can hide a 5 who can't defend. The whole point of playing a 5 in the modern NBA is because of the value they bring as a rim protector and a second line of defense. It's a defensive position before it's an offensive position.

A good way to look at it is that the center in basketball is like the catcher in baseball - the position has so many defensive requirements that it almost doesn't matter how good they are on offense as long as they can stay out of the way. The temptation to play an offensive-minded player at that position is super high because it's such a value add in comparison to the rest of the league, but the problem is that sacrificing defense at that position for a big bat can really hamstring a team in a lot of subtle ways.

That's the problem with building a team around an offensive-minded 5 - you are going to be waiting a long time for their defense to catch up. The Sacramento Kings have this problem with DeMarcus Cousins and the Orlando Magic have this problem with Nik Vucevic. DeMarcus has only begun to figure it out on defense in the last 2 years and that's still pretty hit or miss. Vucevic hasn't figured it out at all and my suspicion is that his presence at the 5 is one of the reasons why all the talent in Orlando hasn't coalesced into a winning basketball team. There's just a ceiling on how good your team can be when you are playing a sieve at the front of the rim - especially when there are a lot of young players in front of him who are making mental mistakes and giving up penetration - and it doesn't matter how many points he's scoring on offense if he's giving up just as many on defense.

In terms of his overall skill-set, Jahlil is basically a 6'11 Carmelo Anthony. He's as good a pure scorer as has come in the league in a long time and he can roll out of bed and get you 20-10 without breaking a sweat. He's going to score a ton of points over his career - the question is whether they are going to be meaningful numbers or empty stats on a bad team. Like Carmelo, how good Jahlil's team is going to be is going to depend on how good he is as a passer and a defender. The better he is, the better his team is going to be. If Jahlil becomes a plus passer and a plus defender, he'll be on one of the best teams in the league because he'll be making everyone better on both sides of the ball. If he's a minus passer and minus defender, he'll be on one of the worst because he'll be making everyone worse. There's a good chance that he puts it all together and is on one of the best teams in the league when he's 28. The problem is that he's 20.

2) Nerlens Noel aka The Human Eraser

There's no better example of the effect that Jahlil has on his teammates than Nerlens. When Jahlil is in, Nerlens is floating around the perimeter on offense, not doing anything all that useful and trying to take guys off the dribble and aimlessly firing bullet passes through traffic. On defense, he's chasing perimeter 4's around the 3-point line and he's way out of position to grab rebounds. When Jahlil is out, Nerlens is a rim-rolling menace on offense and a high-level rim protector on defense. Just take a look at the stats:

Nerlens w/o Jahlil:

PPS - 1.16
Usage rating - 20.5
True shooting - 58.0

Nerlens w/Jahlil

PPS - 1.03
Usage rating - 17.5
True shooting - 51.4

The numbers re-inforce what common sense tells you about playing two non-shooting big man together in the modern NBA - it's not going to work and they need to break up this pairing sooner rather than later. The real concern with Jahlil is that it's not just Nerlens either. Pretty much every player on their roster plays worse with Jahlil. You can't blame him for how bad they are but he's making a bad situation much worse than it has to be. One thing I like to do with basketball-reference is go to their line-up section and look at the net ratings of their top 2 man combinations in terms of minutes played. When you go to the 76ers page, what jumps out is that pretty much all of their worst 2 man combinations have Jahlil in them. He's in 6 of their bottom 7.

Jahlil + Jerami Grant: -20.4
Jahlil + Nerlens Noel: -19.1
Jahlil + TJ McConnell: -19.0
Jahlil + Nik Stauskas: -18.6
Jahlil + Robert Covington: -14.9
Jahlil + Isaiah Canaan: -13.3

It's not just that the 76ers are terrible because the average net rating of their top 20 most used two-man combinations is -10.6. Jahlil is a weight whose literally dragging the rest of his team down. The closest to a positive with Jahlil is Ish Smith (-9.8). There are four guys - Ish, Grant, McConnell and Covington - who have better net ratings with Nerlens.

The thing people don't get about the draft is that it's not just about finding the best players and maximizing the WARP you can select from your draft position. You have to draft players with an idea of what they are good at and what type of role they can have on a good team and then put them in a position to succeed. Nerlens could be a starter on an elite team if he's the roll man in a spread pick-and-roll outfit surrounded by shooters and playing with a high-level PG. Asking him to be the 4-man in a two-post offense that wants to play in the half-court is a recipe for disaster. I'm not sure he fits with Joel Embiid and I know for a fact that he's not going to fit with Okafor. Philly's going to have to do something and there's not exactly a huge market out there to make a big for wings trade.

Also he should be called The Human Eraser because he blocks shots and his haircut and thin frame make him look like a No. 2 pencil.

3) Team building vs. asset acquisition

Coincidentally enough, I watched the 76ers play on Sunday right after reading this article from red94 on the Rockets in the wake of the Motiejunas trade and the similarities between Daryl Morey and his protege Sam Hinkie really jumped off the page. Going all-in on acquiring superstars is great but even superstars need to be put in positions to succeed and not looking at how a player is going to fit holistically into a system means you are going to build a team that's less than the sum of its parts. It's hustling backwards basically.

In a vacuum, it makes sense to flip Motiejunas for a late lottery pick when he's set to be an RFA in a few months and it makes sense to not pay Chandler Parsons $15 million a year. In terms of ROI, the Rockets got the best value that anyone is ever going to get on Motiejunas and Parsons. The problem is that they ended up developing Motiejunas and Parsons for someone else and they missed out on the prime of their careers because they were more concerned with saving cap space to chase a superstar who probably isn't going to want to come to Houston anyway. Even when they do, there's no real plan to build a team around them except gather as many assets as possible and there's no way to develop continuity when so much of the supporting cast is changing every season.

It's the same thing to a more limited extent in Philly. They've had Nerlens for 3 years and they are no closer to fitting him into a role that makes sense for his skill-set. They are just trying to draft the player with the most upside at every spot in the draft and hoping they will be able to figure it out later. The problem is they aren't figuring anything out and the guys they are drafting are making each other worse and not better. You can't draft players in a vacuum - if they have 4 first-round picks in this year's draft, who they draft with their first pick should have a huge impact on who they draft with their 2nd and their 3rd and their 4rth. That's also why there's a diminishing return for having too many draft picks because you can only commit to building around so many young players at a time. Whose their core and who are they trying to build around right now? Who knows?

4) Nik Stauskas and the Tools Problem

If you want to know why most scouts value physical tools over college numbers, take a look at these numbers:

Player A: 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists on 47/44/84 shooting
Player B: 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists on 46/42/81 shooting

Player A was Nik Stauskas. Player B was Rodney Hood. Stauskas was the No. 8 overall pick and Hood fell all the way to No. 23. Two years later, Hood is drawing comparisons to James Harden and Stauskas is barely hanging onto a spot in the league. There's nothing in the NCAA stats that's going to tell you that Player B is going to be a vastly better NBA player than Player A. You have to look beyond the numbers and see that Hood is a smooth athlete at 6'8 215 while Stauskas was going to struggle with size and physicality at the next level at 6'6 205. No matter what sport it is, there's nothing people love bringing up more than college players who outperform their physical measurements at the next level. The reason those are interesting stories, though, is because they are the exception that proves the rule.

More often than not it ends up with guys like Stauskas getting drafted way too high because they put up inflated stats in an NCAA system designed to maximize their numbers. It's a lot like what happened with Trey Burke - Nik Stauskas is a Texas Tech QB. He'll stick in the league because he's a shooter with size, some ball skills and a quick release but he's not big like Klay and he can't shoot like Steph. That was an illusion and that's the reason you have scouts because they are paid to see through stuff like that. Imagine where the Kings would be right now if they had Rodney Hood penciled in as their starting SG.

5) Lightning round asset evaluation

As someone who follows the college game and the draft so closely, the 76ers are one of the most interesting teams in the league for me because they have so many guys I've been tracking for years and am trying to figure out what they are going to be in the NBA.

TJ McConnell - The big difference between him at Arizona and in the NBA is that he's shooting 3's. He has to be a plus shooter because he's not big or athletic enough to be anything more than a guy at the next level. His ceiling is as a pretty average backup PG and I'm not sure a player with such a limited skill-set is going to survive all the purges that the 76ers are going to have to do over the next few years to get all their picks on their roster.
Hollis Thompson - He's tall (6'8 205) and he shoots 3 so that should be enough for him to stick in the league for awhile. He doesn't really do anything else too well but he's functional enough to not kill you on either side of the ball. The 76ers should probably be bringing in more guys like Thompson who can shoot instead of athletes with no range.

Jerami Grant - Grant is a prototype small-ball 4 defensively - he can guard in the post, switch on the pick-and-roll and protect the rim. The problem is that he can't shoot and I'm almost at the point where I'm like who cares with guys like that. If he can't shoot, you might could slot him as a small-ball 5 but there's going to be a ton of competition for the non-shooting slot in the line-up in the modern NBA.

Richaun Holmes - Case in point. Like Grant, he's a super athlete. The difference is that he has more meat on his bones so it's easier for him to play at the 5 despite giving up height. I'm a little behind on him because I can't front like I watched much Bowling Green when he was in college but I'm definitely intrigued.

Robert Covington - The crown jewel of their developmental model. He's bigger, more athletic and more fluid with the ball than Thompson. He might be a starting small-ball 4 on a good team but he's probably going to be best as a bench shooter. That's a problem when the crown jewel is a 7th or an 8th man on a good team.

Isaiah Canaan - He can shoot 3's off the dribble but he's undersized, he's not a playmaker and he isn't even shooting all that well in Philly. The competition to be a combo guard off the bench is even more fierce than to be a small-ball 5 and I'm not sure Canaan has enough to beat all those guys out. Just to pick a name out of a hat, I'd probably rather have Joe Young than him.


  1. great piece. Jalil is probably never going to be a good defender. Im not sure he will ever even be decent. But the problem is the organization. Holmes could be developed into a poor man's Ibaka, but not in philly. They left McDaniels go....explain that? Grant is really a bust. He doesnt do anything well enough, not even defend. Canaan is a career back up at best. Covington is a marginal roster guy on a good team. A *bad* tweener, not a good combo forward. And thompson is soft. Ergo not very valuable. But i might work with thompson...he has some tools.

    1. The McDaniels decision is puzzling. Though him not being able to get any playing time at all in Houston is a concern - that's a team that usually has no problem giving young guys run.

    2. he was a semi-interesting prospect, albeit redundant with jerami grant. hardly worth getting into a bidding war for.

    3. there is no comparison between McD and grant. And mcdaniels stats sort of evidence of that, and his D league time. Houston though...@JTarks is just such a mess, my only explanation why he and dekker arent playing AT ALL.

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  2. "They left McDaniels go....explain that?"

    Don't think there's a whole lot to explain. He wasn't good and had probably voiced his intent to sign elsewhere after last season

    1. except he was very good. Thats a silly comment. Do you watch games?˜

    2. I do watch games. While both have no chance of being in the league long term without improving there outside shot Jerami Grant has been the better player. Statistics back it up as well although both have been mediocre at best.

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  4. Interesting article.

    1/2. I wonder whether we are being too unfair with Okafor. He is a rookie, and for the most part rookies don't contribute to wins. This is just a special year because guys like Towns, PORZINGIS, Turner, Jokic, and Booker are doing special things. It's pretty clear that the Sixers aren't drafting for fit, but that was kind of their strategy from the start. Take the bpa and flip the pieces you don't want.
    Still, a more seasoned version of Okafor could be a devastating offensive force (killing small ball mismatches) and a passable defensive presence.
    I think there is a lot of criticism one could make regarding how the Sixers develop players, but I don't think their drafting strategy is bad because they are not tied to anyone on the roster and are still searching for their first star. If it is Embiid they likely move on from one or both of Noel/Okafor.

    3. I think it's also kind of unfair to criticize the Rockets and claim they gave away assets for star players that didn't want to be there. When they lost Parsons they were a Pat Riley panic max offer away from getting Bosh. They also were able to lure Dwight, regardless of how that chemistry has played out. They've had some success. Not every move will pan out, but the thought process of trying to swing big for stars has been proven to be effective time and time again. Either you draft the star, trade for him, or lure him in free agency. Houston has been active in all these capacities and has tried to balance their stars with logical role players (Ariza, Beverly, DMo, Tjones). Sometimes in criticizing we create these shadow moves that organizations should've made that weren't viable at the time.

    4. I'm pretty bummed Nik hasn't done well. I had him ranked pretty high as well. He was a great shooter at Michigan and really grew as a playmaker running PNR. He also wasn't a bad athlete and had decent size for the position. As far as Hood, he's been a delight and a revelation. Far exceeding expectations. However, I wonder whether it's fair to credit Hood's success over Stauskas to "physical tools." Couldn't it be that guys like Hood/Klay are just better? Better shooters, ball handlers, and defenders. The tools help in all facets, but I'm always scared to discredit the talent and work ethic of these players,

    1. 1-2. I guess this wasn't totally clear in the piece because I do think Okafor can be a good to great player in the NBA. It will just depend on how good his defense becomes and good interior defense is the hardest skill in the league to acquire. It's just going to take him a long time to get there and it's going to put a ceiling on the rest of the team until he does.

      3. I think what gets lost in the discussion about how to find stars is that you can grow them from within. When you have a team with 5 two-way players that's going to win a lot of games, one of those guys is going to be considered a star. Like people think Utah doesn't have any "stars" but I could see Hayward, Exum, Hood, Lyles, Gobert and Favors being considered in that category if the Jazz can co-alesce into an elite team. It's kind of the same way that Lillard became a star in Portland because he was on a perfect situation for him to succeed.

      4. I feel like saying a guy has more talent necessarily means that he has better physical tools but I can see what you mean.

  5. I don't follow college, so when the Sixers got Stauskus, I thought he was a dead-eye shooter/slasher type based on some draft day highlights from Michigan. I live in Philly and watched him play his first 20 games for the Sixers and thought "This guy doesn't have one noticeable skill to keep himself in the league". He can't defend, he can't shoot threes, he's an average passer, and he can't punish people one on one. He's had a few nice games since then, but nothing to suggest he's more than a 7th-8th guy on a playoff team. I felt like him being drafted 8th would've meant him averaging 14-16ppg on this Sixers team - Covington averaged 13ppg last year and he was a D Leaguer before being scooped out of oblivion. But you're right about skills vs. numbers: Covington was a 6'9 bruiser converted to three point shooter who can rebound.

  6. Hes on Philly. Wh would anyone want to play hard on defense when you know it's to no avail. Biggest joke, He's basically a sophmore in college right now just playing in the NBA on a D-League team.

    1. I can see why Jahlil wouldn't necessarily have the motivation to pass or play D on this squad.

    2. good pt. And thats one of the major issues with the Hinkie plan. Guys dont develop, and get used to losing. Might be partly on Brown as coach, but its hard when you win 5 games a year.

  7. Agreed that the article is well done. Most well-informed Sixer fans realize that it is difficult or impossible to build a team around a player like Okafor. Nerlens works as a complimentary piece on offense on offense, but is spectacular defensively at the 5 (not so much at the 4).

    All that said, the Sixers are going to build the team around a healthy Embiid, or Simmons or Ingram if the lottery gods smile upon them this year. Everything else is secondary. The current debate in Philly is over the rumored trade that with Boston. The deal was supposedly Okafor for the Brooklyn pick, effectively giving the Sixers a 30 percent increase in the odds of landing one of the top two this year. Many are arguing that it would have been worth it since Okafor is not the centerpiece they need.

    In terms of the other players, the analysis was generally spot on. Stauskas is the biggest disappointment this year. He has only shown flashes of the 3 pt stroke and PNR ability he showed in college. That said, he still is a better ball handler, facilitator, then any other option they have at the 2.

    Grant has not developed his shot. At all. And that is absolutely a limiting factor. His defense is excellent and versatile (though he tries to take too many charges and almost always gets called for blocking). He has also shown a better ability to take the ball to the hoop and finish under control. He is definitely a 4, not a 3, or even a small ball 5.

    Richaun has been a revelation, offensively. He came in with a reputation for having a decent outside stroke but that really has not shown up. However, he has been relentless on the offensive boards, excellent in the pick and roll, and probably the best finisher around the basket on the team. Defensively he is quicker than Okafor, but still a bit clueless in team defense at times.

    1. The Okafor trade to Boston would be super interesting because that's how you would want to build a team around him - play 4 elite athletes who can keep their man in front of them and space the floor. Or at least have those combinations of skills among your top 5-6 other players. Boston has pretty much the perfect supporting cast in place but they don't have their centerpiece yet.

    2. Actually I think Noel works better with Boston and rumor was they tried to acquire him last year. They would be even better on defense with a real rim protector. They like to play uptempo as well and Noel can really run.

  8. Ibaka seems to be able to influence the game with his rim protection from the 4 spot. Is there any chance of Noel being able to do the same?

    1. He does to a degree, it's just that he's such a disruptive force playing as the 2nd line of defense at center. Playing PF is such a waste of his skills.

  9. "Jahlil is a weight whose literally dragging the rest of his team down."

    FYI that should be "who's", not "whose".

    1. Thanks. For some reason I can never get those two straight.

  10. The Sixers are a joke of a Franchise. Losers since Iverson 2001 Finals days. Lakers/Celtics/Spurs are true franchises. Players want to come and play for these cities. Philadelphia is a joke

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Mr Unknown, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


  11. Houston was defeated by the eventual NBA champions, and played GS as well as Cavs, all with an aging banged-up old center and PG/injury problems all year. So conclusion that what Houston does is wrong, is absurd.

    No one is comparable to Boogie Cousins, end of statement.

    Vucevic isn't anywhere close to as good as Okafor on offense.

    Both Stauskas and Okafor are still very young, and both have flashed of what it takes on both ends of court. Not my favorite players, but mistake to pass judgement on the young with that many minutes on a largely disfunctional team.

    You're too negative on Nerlens. He's improving in every category, again, in spite of a rough system the last two years.

    Too negative on TJ.

    Overestimate your own judgement just bc you watch some college games.

    want my time back after reading phrases like "fronting". Are you a holla-back boy?

    1. I feel like you are taking what I said to conclusions that I didn't make. I think Okafor and Noel could be starters on elite teams eventually - I wouldn't say that's passing judgment or being negative necessarily.

    2. I'm going to politely disagree. Vucevic has a 106 offensive rating to Okafor's 99. Vucevic shoots 47% outside of 16 feet, while Okafor shoots 25%. Vucevic shoots 77% on free throws; Okafor shoots 68%. Vucevic has a 17% assist rate and 10% turnover rate; Okafor has an 8% assist rate and a 13% turnover rate.

      So how exactly is Vucevic "not anywhere close" to being as good offensively as Okafor? He can actually hit jumpers out to 20-22 feet, he hits his foul shots, he scores more efficiently, averages twice as many assists, and turns the ball over less than Okafor. Is this some kind of "eye test" thing where you see Okafor with some good post moves and thus declare him better?

    3. Vucevic/Okafor is such a bad comparison because Nik is ridiculously older and those are prime development years. I would agree that Vucevic is more efficient on offense right now but Vucevic at 20 wasnt even starting in college.

  12. A few notes from someone that has actually watched every single Sixers game this season:

    1. Being a bad defensive player and an offensive focal point who struggles with double teams as a rookie is a regular sight in the NBA and isn't something that can be determined right now. From Durant to Cousins (including guys like Lebron and Melo) the list of superstars that have struggled with the same or similar issues as rookies is very long (especially visible in efficiency, TO rate and +/- stats). Whether Okafor makes the needed adjustment and improves noone knows, but whoever thinks he's doomed based on his current stats and especially the Sixers record is very very wrong.

    2. On the defensive end Okafor isn't bad in every area of defense. He's actually solid in post defense and rim protection. He's even ok in one on one defense on the perimeter. Where he really struggles is off the ball recognition and positioning, something that is critical in the modern NBA but also something that very few rookies excel at. Effort has also often been an issue, but it seems that the lack of effort on his part is closely correlated to how competitive the team is during the game (and especially in the first 2 months the Sixers were rarely competitive). Oh and btw, Okafor has often guarded PFs over the past couple of weeks so the media should take a glimpse at this as soon as there's enough of a sample size to analyze.

    3. Anyone who watches the Sixers knows that the Sixers pre-Ish and post-Ish are two completely different teams even though only one player is actually different. Using stats prior to the Ish Smith trade honestly isn't relevant for any of the Sixers players when analyzing their ability and specially possible future.

    1. 4. One major issue regarding Okafor's performance that's basically not analyzed at all by the national media and is fully reflected in his bad +/- numbers is the fact that very few players, if anyone actually know how to space the floor around Okafor, when and where to cut, how to throw a pass to the post etc. Most of those guys are very young and with the scarcity of offensive minded big men today they probably never played with a player like that. They need to be coached and improve too, but right their mistakes can easily be

      5. The part of the team building strategy is essentially at the core of most of these issues and at the moment it's difficult to conclude how the Sixers are doing either way. One thing is certain though, making any conclusions about a players future based on his performance with teammates that do not fit at all is, IMO, misguided. And virtually every GM in the league would build their team around it's best players and not vice versa, so it's hard to say that it's Okafor's fault that the others can't play with him. Long term every single one of the role players can be expendable.

      6. The other core issue in this debate is just how dependent a teams defense is on the C of the team. Personally, i think a common misconception today is that teams and players must abide to what's being branded as "modern" to succeed. That's simply wrong. The actual champions almost always have unique characteristics that create the future trends for teams. They are not the ones that copy whatever it is that is being called "modern" at the time. They are the ones that facilitate the evolution of the game. So while it's trendy to think that you can't have a good defense without a dominant high-flying rim protecting mobile C, and you can't be a superstar while spending a lot of time in the post as a post up player, that doesn't have to be true. In fact, even this year one of those 2 trends is being somewhat proven wrong: the top 7 defenses right now are San Antonio, Indiana, Boston, Golden State, Atlanta, Miami and Cleveland. Those are teams that have a host of excellent defensive players, but very few of them have an excellent defense because their C is carrying them on that end.

      Bottom line, noone knows how Okafor will turn out, but lets not miss the forest from the trees just because he's not a sexy pick to become a star.

  13. The two most intriguing guys of the other Sixers players (non-Okafor/Noel) are Grant and Stauskas.

    With Stauskas you can really see his "tools". There's a very interesting player somewhere in there, he just needs to put it together on a consistent basis. With guys like him sometimes that never happens. But other times, they figure out even if takes them years to pull it off. We'll just have to wait and see, i wouldn't give up on him yet. Not even close.

    As for Grant, there are just so many things that point towards the Draymond Green, Crowder, Carroll, Thad Young group as possible futures for his development that i don't think it can be dismissed yet that Grant won't be a higher level player. He's going to have to improve his shot to succeed at a very high level but i don't think he's anywhere near the stage of his career where one can determine just how good he will actually be in 5 years.

  14. The mocking twitter quote of "jahlil chamberlain lmao" from "Austin @garooya" is absurd. Wilt was a tremendous defensive player.

    - Wilt twice made the All NBA First Defensive Team at the end of his career, after knee rupture tendon injury/surgery and in his mid 30s. The honor had not existed for most of his career. If it had, it's likely he would have had more because...

    - Wilt hardly ever racked up lots of fouls

    - and he did this while playing good defense and putting up monster blocking games for dozens and dozens of games: - block data for tons of games; 112 games, 8.8 bpg (see -

    - Here is Wilt against one of the best big men of his era, destroying Thurmond in the NBA Finals: - insane blocks in Finals v. Thurmond

    Watch and learn man

  15. Picking on +/- stats again are we? +/- stats are very misleading and don't tell the whole story. They may provide a bit of insight, but nothing earth shattering. They should pretty much just rename it the "do you play on a good team?" stat.

    Okafor has company at the bottom that's for sure. Nearly the entire bottom of the list is composed of players from the rosters of the league's worst teams. Even Towns, for all his media / rookie style acclaim, is as low as #370. The only rookie not pathetically low is Porzingis - but he also plays with some much better players/teams than the other rookies. The Knicks, although way under .500 and a joke, are not a rebuilding "bottom out" team like the Lakers, Sixers, Nets (poor Nets they are so screwed) and T-Wolves. They at least have some decent players like Anthony, Afflalo, etc. and can win sometimes - meaning more of than the bottom dwellers. Porzingis does not have to (and can he even? (yet)) draw double teams like Okafor? And players not knowing what to do is a lame excuse for the reality of a young and developing team. The Boston trade rumor was intriguing because Jahlil, if he played on a good, deep team like the Celtics - who have good shooting and a very strong defense - could potentially be a bona fide star.

    And oh yeah, he's only 20. Let's wait to see what happens with:

    Embiid (will be healthy and effective? how much will/can he play? what position will be best?)

    Saric (will he come for 2016-2017? what can he really do?)

    Draft (how many picks will the Sixers have? which pick(s) will they "win"? which players will they take? will they make any moves?)

    Summer (will they sign any FAs? will they make any trades before the season starts?)

    The current guys (how will they develop? will they improve?)

    It's early fellas...

    1. Advanced plus minus stats are some of the best stats we have. We are not talking about raw plus minus which are complete garbage. If you watch the games, which Im sure you do, its obvious that Oak is a tire fire on defense and sometimes a ball stopper on offense. The talent is apparent. The questions is whether he is going to improve in his weak areas. No one is saying he can't or won't. This is one of the best articles I've read on the Sixers in awhile. Extremly fair imo.

    2. Yes, watching the games shows what the obvious areas for improvement are and should be. That's where most of the impetus should come for how to get better. Not from silly stats on "2-man combos" and other nonsense - because stats can tell you whatever you want to hear if you have a bias.

      Case in point:

      The reality is it's early and he's learning and obviously has to improve in some key areas (ability to defend the perimeter better, pick n roll D, better effort and awareness). But he has many strengths which do not need to be listed here. And he is definitely NOTHING like a 6'11" Anthony because he is not really 6'11" to begin with lol, and he is also not offensively similar in terms of moves and post v. perimeter play. I also disagree with the passing comment - that is very likely a maturity and experience issue combined with the obvious reality of playing on a team that is not very good. He does draw constant double teams which is very strong evidence of his offensive gravity and a very good long-term sign for dominant play. There is a reason why Danny Ainge, a smart GM who has done a good job building in Boston, was rumored to have tried to acquire Okafor. On a team that plays good defense with good shooters, Okafor could potentially turn into a star player very quickly.

      Frankly given his athleticism and footwork and basketball IQ, my bet would be he'll end up being just fine - maybe not a great super defender, but I think he'll be a decent, solid defender.

      Focusing on numbers that supposedly tell some monumentally epochal story of how "bad he is at defense" for now in his rookie year as a 20 year old is just silly lol, especially when they are not absolutely conclusive and full of holes.

      Our eyes and brains tell a better story my friend. It is not wise to blast Okafor this early, as he plays on a terrible rebuilding team and is just a rookie.

  16. Interesting post..
    I will bookmark this page.
    NBA players quotes at

  17. This team only needs a few more players. Maybe Toby Kimball, John Block, and Freddie Carter. That should do it.

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