The top draws of summer league have consistently been the Lakers and the Knicks, with fans excited about the potential of top picks D'Angelo Russell and Kristaps Porzingis. The 76ers contingent, while in existence, hasn't been nearly as plentiful, though Sixers pick Jahlil Okafor has been more effective during summer league action in general. Today, he should be in action yet again as the Sixers and Knicks tip off.
Porzingis has been far from bad during summer league, showing both range and offensive moves near the rim and some semblance of what his verticality can ultimately become. Despite being thin as a toothpick and eminently movable by any big with muscle, he's consistently made a positive impact, and it gives me hope that he can play minutes right away as a backup in certain situations.
But Jahlil Okafor, despite not being in prime physical condition, is much stronger and can be very physical. It'll be interesting who the Knicks, a summer league team without a real center, want to put on the block against Okafor. Jahlil hasn't been great against smaller competition, as his teammates have not done well with spacing the floor or really anything in general when teams inevitably double team. Sometimes, Okafor just decides he can score over the double teams (and he's good enough to do that). But that's not a consistently effective option.
Somebody needs to hit shots, which for this team is hard to figure. The best shooter might be Pierre Jackson, but he's more likely to shoot off the dribble than off a kick-out. JaKarr Sampson has been dreadful through two games so far, and his NBA record of shot-making is mostly horrifying. Scottie Wilbekin might be the best option, but he might not get major minutes.
So despite Okafor's size advantage, the Knicks (who's team also has Jerian Grant, Ricky Ledo, and Cleanthony Early among other NBA players) should be considered the favorite. It starts at 5:30 in Philly, so come join us for that.