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76ers vs Cavaliers, Preview/Game Thread: An OkaForeword

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Leave Jahlil Alone!

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been made over the past few weeks about Jahlil Okafor and his potential fit long-term with the 76ers among LB writers and commenters, alike. I'm in the cautiously optimistic camp with Okafor, partly because of an admittedly low baseline/expectation and partly because the team around him is so terrible that it's hard to gauge how good or bad a barely-20-year-old rookie will be with more seasoning.

Then again, I believe we are at a point of rebuild exhaust that we'll tend to deny some real problems in Okafor's game relative to the direction of the league. I'm more forgiving with Okafor than most because I want to believe that awareness and recognition will improve with experience and supporting cast. But as more teams go towards small-ball, the Okafor that we see now would not be able to survive defensively (lack of traditional rim protection, recovery, spacing). So yes, I won't and can't readily dismiss that critique, if we're thinking grand scheme.

That said, you'll never convince me that you need to give up on Okafor this early in his NBA career, despite whatever flaws he has in his game. The Sixers are a very bad team and THAT isn't all Jah's fault. For example, we're a third of the way into the season and the team still doesn't know how to play off ball when they dump it to him. Now, there will be a day that the organization will be forced to make a decision on which big they'll hitch the organization. But, that day isn't today, tomorrow or the trade deadline, in my opinion.

You know what would make this easier? Joel Embiid with a healing factor and adamantium-laced bones. C'mon science!

2015-2016 NBA REGULAR SEASON
@
cavaliers
December 20, 2015
Quicken Loans Arena
3:30 PM
CSN - Marc Zumoff and Alaa Abdelnaby, Reporter: Molly French
PROBABLE STARTERS
Kendall Marshall PG Kyrie Irving
Isaiah Canaan SG J.R. Smith
Robert Covington SF LeBron James
Nerlens Noel PF Kevin Love
Jahlil Okafor C Timofey Mozgov

Pre-Game Notes

  • Kyrie Irving makes his return after fracturing his knee cap during the last post season. It's probably a good game for him to ease back into playing considering the match up. Welcome back, Uncle Drew!
  • Iman Shumpert is a game-time decision with a groin strain. It won't have much impact on the game results, most likely, so even if he does go, I don't expect him to play much.
  • Mike mentioned once again, that you shouldn't watch every game. I recommend that this is a game you pass on. Don't worry, we got you covered if you want to know what happens. Go enjoy the rest of your afternoon. Get some Christmas shopping done. Watch some football or, more specifically...
  • Get ready for some Eagles vs Cardinals! Check out Bleeding Green Nation!