ESPN reported that the Philadelphia 76ers are ready to part ways with their leading scorer Jahlil Okafor. Which brings up the question: Should the Houston Rockets make a move for Okafor this summer?
For the first time in five years, the future of the Philadelphia 76ers seems bright. As a healthy Joel Embiid prepares to make his long anticipated rookie debut. The 76ers are on the boundary of selecting the NBA’s top prospect Ben Simmons (or Brandon Ingram).
As the curtains draw to a close on the Dwight Howard era, his departure will leave a huge gap to fill at the center position. Which brings up the question, should the Houston Rockets make a trade for Jahil Okafor this summer?
Sure, Noel is also on the Sixers trading block, and it is easy to make a case that the Rockets should trade for him instead. However, outside of his abilities as a potential defensive anchor, Okafor is the better player.
Despite his early season troubles and injury that caused him to missed the remainder of the season. The 6’11 big man from Duke had a successful rookie campaign this year.
In fact, if it was not for the astounding emergence from Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns. Some could argue Okafor as the top candidate for Rookie of the Year honors.
In his first season, Okafor was the leading scorer for the 76ers. Sure, Philadelphia has not had a dominating scorer since Allen Iverson. However, Okafor’s 17.5 points per game should not go overlooked.
In spite of only appearing in 53 games this season, Okafor has shown the potential to become one of the best big men in the league.
Personally, behind DeMarcus Cousins, Al Horford, and Anthony Davis. He has the potential to become the next best big man in the association. According to the NBA Player Tracking stats, Okafor shot 51.1 percent from 10-20 feet. Which easily makes him a solid jump shooter for a big.
For the Rockets to have a big that can knock down a 15-foot jumper is crucial. Especially when playing alongside James Harden. Just Imagine how unstoppable Houston’s high pick-and-roll would become between Okafor and Harden.
If their defenders decide to double Harden when coming off the pick. They would leave an open Okafor to take a 15-foot jumper. If Houston’s defenders decide not to double off the pick from Okafor. We all know how deadly The Beard is when isolated on offense.
Trading for Okafor would be a great move for the Rockets this summer. Unfortunately, it may come at a risk. For a team ranked 25th in points allowed, Okafor is not someone who will help Houston’s defensive problems.
According to the NBA Defensive Player Tracking stats, when defending players Okafor is allowing his opponents to shoot 47.9 percent from the field.
Unfortunately, the biggest question when trading for Okafor is his health. His rookie campaign came to an unexpected end after he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Although he underwent a successful arthroscopic surgery, it is uncertain how Okafor will respond after the injury.
So, in the case, the Rockets lose Dwight Howard, Daryl Morey may want to take a look at Jahlil Okafor as a replacement. Especially if Houston ends up missing out on Al Horford this summer.
A 20-year old kid who has drawn multiple comparisons to Tim Duncan sounds like it could be the best move of the summer for Clutch City.
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