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Nets Trade gives new life to Young Career by Jahlil Okafor

While you were reading Joel Embiid's Instagram account, on Thursday afternoon it became known that the former center of the Sixers, Jahlil Okafor, a victim of The Process, has been released from his place on the Phillies bench. . Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft, will go to the Nets in an exchange that sees Trevor Booker go to Philadelphia, while Brooklyn also hosts Nik Stauskas and a second round in 2019 that belongs to the Knicks. The Nets will relinquish Sean Kilpatrick to make room on the list.

Okafor's career, obviously, is the big winner here, as she will have the opportunity to audition for the teams before going to free agency and possibly forging a home for her next contract if everything is nice. Having said that, let's examine how the Nets and the Sixers found out.


This is a no risk deal for the Nets. There's really nothing wrong with Brooklyn. Although it seems like an eternity since he led Duke to a national title, Okafor turns 22 next week and remains one of the most talented post scorers in the league. While his defensive problems rightly challenged his ability to anchor a quality team inside, it has not had anything to do with a just jolt in Philadelphia in recent years. Okafor averaged 17.5 points per game and made the first All-Rookie team in 2015-16 before injury and lack of opportunities hindered his case by playing time.

So, the Nets, who do, still expecting to have their own first-round picks after the disastrous Celtics trade, effectively add one with this deal (technically two, counting Stauskas). Okafor should be inserted into his rotation immediately and give them a legitimate offensive focal point. While their long-term prospects may not be more stellar, there is room to generate performance as Nets focus on their development and discover how they could best use it. Sean Marks continues to make intelligent decisions at the helm, and Brooklyn could benefit in the long term from the rehabilitation of the Okafor race. In the worst case, the Nets won two overdue contracts and a selection in exchange for Booker, who had become a valuable presence for the team, but surely was not part of his long-term plan.

While Okafor struggles to recover from his area and protect the basket, he has come a long way to get in shape and improve his body. Having only made two appearances for the Sixers this season, we'll see how far he can take him. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson likes to play a quick style that may not synchronize with Okafor's catch-and-release tendencies, but once again, there's really no reason not to try it when the big man approaches the agency. free. Okafor is also a good post passer, but it was rarely used for that in Philadelphia. Your time is over. And finally, he has the opportunity to get out of exile.

Mitchell Leff / Getty Images


Obviously, this is not a home run for Philly, but exchanging what is equivalent to spare The pieces of a solid veteran player in Booker to raise a young team who seems victor in the playoffs at this stage is still a victory. Certainly, it is possible that they could have obtained more for Okafor two years ago, given the foresight, but the uncertainty with the health of Joel Embiid, the presence of Nerlens Noel and a mixed general management after Sam Hinkie complicated things. It is certainly possible that the selection of the Knicks becomes a useful selection of 31-40 in 2019, but since Philadelphia still has another seven second rounds in the next three drafts, in addition to his own, it is quite negligible at this time .

The situation had evolved into a frustration for all parties, with Okafor unable to find minutes and the Sixers declining their option and kicking their rights along the way. Okafor was almost traded to the pelicans last season before an agreement was closed (with New Orleans later dealing with DeMarcus Cousins). He was widely set to dry, and although the concerns about his attack in Philadelphia were legitimate (and the Sixers, of course, became an intriguing team without him), it is logical that the situation had been handled better.

Off-court incidents that led to the suspension of two Okafor games as a rookie clouded his reputation from the beginning (in a way perhaps unfairly hard for a teenager), and the marriage never worked. The Sixers, of course, took him one place ahead of Kristaps Porzingis in that draft. It's water under the bridge at this point. Moving forward is an advantage for everyone involved.

Booker will add toughness and experience and reach an expiring agreement that preserves Philadelphia's flexibility this summer. It is unclear how much will be used with Amir Johnson, Joel Embiid, Darío Saric and Richaun Holmes already part of the front rotation. With Embiid's continuing need to rest occasionally, he certainly presents another viable option as the Sixers push for the postseason. Is not it nice when everything makes sense?

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