Philadelphia 76ers: Why Not Give Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid A 30 Day Try?
It’s funny to say, but the Philadelphia 76ers can actually afford to experiment a little more this season with their lineup.
The Philadelphia 76ers are no longer sitting in the trenches of mediocrity. The same franchise who just two seasons ago won 10 games is now sitting at 12-8 on the season. How so? Easy, it was done with smart planning, crass moves, and better draft decisions. It took some time and while the road was tough to travel, the end is looking mighty bright.
However, there is still an elephant in the room by the name of Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor’s name has been involved in trade rumors for the past two seasons and this year just might be the one where he actually gets dealt. But, does he really have to? Or, better yet, have the 76ers done all they could to make him feel wanted or up their asking price?
At one point, Okafor was the face of the franchise but an injury, plus the addition of Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Nerlens Noel changed that. But still, Okafor has done nothing but be a team player while taking hits in the media. So, with Okafor being healthy and the 76ers hell-bent on possibly trading him, why not showcase his skills for the rest of the NBA to see?
Now, the Philadelphia 76ers have great talent in the frontcourt this year. Embiid is the starting center, Dario Saric has taken over the starting power forward spot which leaves SF to Robert Covington. However, the 76ers can tinker with the lineup one more time. Why not give Okafor a shot to redeem himself or a chance to show teams that might be willing to offer up more than a second round pick for him?
Play Okafor To Increase His Trade Value
The 76ers should try a frontcourt for Embiid, Okafor, and Covington. Fans may not like that as they say Okafor is weak on the defensive end, however, with Embiid and Covington paired with him, his offensive low post moves will be a welcomed site. Sending Saric to the second unit will provide the 76ers with a playmaker they are lacking with the injury to Justin Anderson and Markelle Fultz.
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While Okafor may be best suited to play the center position, he has the skills to play the 4 spot as well. Okafor can put the ball on the floor, create his own shot, he’s also a pretty decent passer from the post and loves to attack the rim. While his averages are not where the 76ers hoped they would be (14.6. points, 5.9 rebounds), he still has produced when given the chance.
I get that Saric in the starting lineup may give the 76ers a better chance but if trading Okafor is their goal, then show teams what they’re trading for. Try the lineup out for 30 days, you never know what may happen. The 76ers could go on a magical run or they could falter. Either way, they played their cards and will know what value Okafor has.
But, just keeping a player with his ceiling on the bench because mistakes were made by the front office is unfair to him and the organization. Okafor deserves better and the 76ers deserve better. Remember, there was a time when Embiid was referred to as the next Greg Oden and Okafor was the face.