Sixers Draft Recap: Welcome Jahlil Okafor

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The biggest night on the Sixers’ calendar has come and gone and like the past two drafts under Sam Hinkie, the Sixers nabbed a big man with their top selection.

I’m pretty excited for Jahlil Okafor, especially since in all likelihood, he’ll be ready to play this season right away, as opposed to Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel in their rookie years. Okafor was probably the Sixers draft target I watched the most all year long, and was my first choice for much of the year. I knew that having two other young big men would not deter Sam Hinkie and that turned out to be the case. I just had no idea that he wasn’t going to be the top pick, since I figured the Sixers wouldn’t win the lottery this year.

But I CANNOT believe the Lakers swooped in and took D’Angelo Russell. Just a few days ago, Chad Ford, had it 80-20 that the Lakers were taking Okafor. I honestly thought Russell wasnt the best need pick for the Sixers, I thought he was going to be the best player available for the Sixers. If the Sixers had selected No.2 I have a feeling they would’ve went Russell, just like they wouldve taken Wiggins over Embiid had they had a higher pick last year. I guess the Lakers are going to find a big in Free Agency, or try to work out a three-team deal for a big man because they don’t have the resources now for a Boogie Cousins deal. The Lakers obviously felt Russell’s star potential was too much to pass up and like me they probably read this article, showing how Russell had the best chance to be a superstar (and most likely to be a bust). Russell in Philly would’ve been fun, but it’s time to get ready to watch Okafor do work.

I don’t think the Okafor pick signifies anything is dramatically wrong with Joel Embiid, but it does make his foot concerns a little less worrisome for me, knowing the Sixers can build around Okafor and Noel and Embiid can continue to rehab with a little less scrutiny now.

I do think Embiid will get on the court eventually, however and how they make they three big man co-exist will be fascinating. I have no idea how it will play out, but I’m sure the Sixers will find a way in the short-term at least. Long term? It’s probable that one of Embiid or Noel gets dealt, but that’s a ways away.

They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Noel, defense. Okafar, offense. Embiid is a good all-around prospect, but health is the issue. I like the odds that at least one of these three will be a perennial all-star. If you made me pick now, I’ll say Okafor, but it’s just a guess.

The bottom line is Jahlil was the best player available, and when the Sixers are shooting so high to be great, while currently performing one of the most dramatic and scrutinized rebuilds in sports, you can’t worry about position or fit when it comes to finding the next potential superstar.  Take the best player and that’s what they did and will likely continue to do.

Other thoughts

  • Boy am I glad they didn’t take Porzingis. I probably would’ve been off the Hinkie bandwagon if he did that. LOL at the Knicks fans last night.
  • Minnesota is putting together a terrific core, one that I think most Sixers fans would prefer to the one the Sixers have. And to think it’s all because they mismanaged Kevin Love’s contract and Lebron went back to Cleveland.
  • The Sixers are definitely a bit unlucky in this rebuild, which is probably going to make the process longer in the end. Embiid’s foot injury last year (and this year) pushing them away from Wiggins when he would’ve slipped to No. 3. And now this year, not only did the Lakers get a top 5 pick, denying the Sixers the rights to obtain their selection, they decide to go against their history of great big men and take Russell.
  • I’m pretty surprised the Sixers didn’t make a move back into the first round of draft with all the draft picks at their disposal. Even Hinkie stated today it was surprising that they only made one transaction last night.
  • Only in Philadelphia can questions about how enthusiastic a prospect appeared to be post-selection become one of the topics of conversation. Okafor seemed plenty enthused to me last night. Then again I have NO IDEA what his personality is like or what was going on in his mind. I’m just going to assume he’s happy to be in Philadelphia with a good coaching staff and a chance to be a franchise savior. I know it’s our nature to be negative, but let’s just be positive here Philly.




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