Now that the dust has settled on the big trade with Philadelphia, the analysts were out and about this weekend, focusing in particular on the effect Jahlil Okafor will have on the Nets.
And it’s mostly very positive. The main point is that there is a place for a big man who can shoot and pass, even in the run-and-gun offenses like the Nets’.
Here are some quotes...
David Griffin, former Cavs GM, on NBA TV:
“I think this is one of the rare trades in the league where I would say unequivocally that this helps both teams.
“It certainly fits Brooklyn’s timeline. It gives them a kid who’s almost 22 —21.9 years of age who has incredible upside as an offensive force in the paint and really in the restricted area. He scores a lot of his points 14 feet and in. He can put it on the deck and make a play from there as well. So it gives them someone who has some upside, fits their youth profile.”
Erik Spoelstra, Heat head coach, in post-game interview:
“They’re collecting talented assets for sure. Much has been made about how they lost all their draft picks. Now all of a sudden — hey acquired the second and third pick of the same draft and doing it in an unconventional way. He’s a low-post threat for sure.
“With this game being so much about 3-point shooting and spacing, you just don’t face that many bigs that you can throw the ball to and they can score and you have to think about whether you’re going to bring another defender there or not. We saw that the other night with LaMarcus Aldridge. Okafor has potential to really be an impact player in the low post.”
Brendan Haywood, game analyst on NBA TV:
“You can talk about pace all you want to, but at some point, you have to play in the half court and that’s where I think Okafor can help this team. Think about an old school team like the Lakers. They got up and and down the court with Magic Johnson. They ran, but guess what happened next? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“I see a little bit of Andre Drummond. I see a number of things he can do offensively like Whiteside. It’s one thing that people say ‘Big men are dead.’ No, big men who can’t play are dead. Big men who can effect the paint can still play.
“Jahlil Okafor can still catch, he can still finish. As long as he can find away to have an impact in the paint from a scoring standpoint, and then make the right pass from the weak side, he has a place in this league. I wish him the best. I don’t like the way they did him in Philadelphia. I hope he turns this thing around.”
Dennis Scott, game analyst on NBA TV:
“I think what people have to realize is, ‘can the love of the game get back in this young man. That’s the first thing that has to happen. So hopefully, you get to Brooklyn, you get to practice, you get around players and that love being around the game, wanting to bang.
“That’s what brings to mind Shaq. Shaq didn’t mind banging early in his career, blocking shots, finding ways to get easy buckets around the basket, knowing that the first couple of times, we didn’t throw the ball down in the post. But as he grew out confidence, we’d say, ‘Okay, big fella, go in there and get some rebounds. We’re not going to make all our shots. That’s when Shaq was dominating the glass early in his career.
“For Okafor, he’s got to get that love back ... now with Brooklyn, with their pace, they have 3-point shooters, too. You still have to bang down there too to show people that you still have love for basketball and now your confidence comes back and you start feeding off your teammates. That’s the part we’re trying to figure out. If you do that, now you create space. Now, your 3-point shooting becomes effective as a team.
“If you believe in yourself, can you run the floor. Young Shaq used to run the floor, get easy dunks, get easy layups.
“Slow down people, I’m not comparing him to Shaq. Slow down a little bit. Slow down. What we’re trying to get people to understand that big body, those big old hands, like meat hooks, when you’re in that post, you have to get rebounds and make the defense honor you. Now, you can get out and run. Now in the halfcourt set. Now maybe they can feature you, get more touches.”
Zach Lowe, ESPN analyst, on his podcast:
“I mean it took until the Rockets and the Warriors for Enes Kanter to be useless in a playoff series, that’s how good the teams have to be, IF, IF, and look, it’s no secret I am not a huge fan of Enes Kanter’s game, I have a little bit of an Enes Kanter blind spot, but that dude is a beast. Physically he is a beast. He’s getting every offensive rebound, and he finishes everything around the basket, and he doesn’t necessarily demand a million back to the basket looks, he can do that but he can get his points in other ways, but he’s a beast, and Okafor has to be a beast. He has to get offensive rebounds and he has to just get to the basket all the time.
“And actually when he first got the league, his back to the basket game wasn’t the most interesting part of his game to me, it was his faceup game. He had this little proto-Demarcus Cousins like gimme the ball at the nail or even the three point and I can drive, kind of bully-ball my way to the rim. The problem is he never passes. And if you don’t pass as a post up player, you’re just not gonna help your team. So that’s what I’m actually most interested to see. He’s in better shape this year, which might make him from the worst defensive player in the league to like bottom 15 percentile, which is fine, it’s a little bit of progress, but like will you throw a freaking pass to somebody. When they double-team you, can you find anybody, or are you just gonna keep shooting?”
There are, of course, other opinions, but so far, the overall impression of the trade is overwhelming positive.
- Execs, scouts voice risks, rewards in Nets’ deal for Jahlil Okafor - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ trade with 76ers risky, but GM Sean Marks is confident - Greg Logan - Newsday