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Summer Sixers: Jahlil Okafor Faces The Celtics

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Round 2 of the Utah Summer League happens tonight against a team with no real NBA centers.

It's all about this pretty face tonight, and this summer, after all.
It's all about this pretty face tonight, and this summer, after all.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

First half struggles aside, Jahlil Okafor looked exactly like you'd expect he should look in his summer league debut. He's very big, even compared to most NBA players, brings smooth post moves, runs kind of slowly, and is basically a smoother, worse-shooting Brook Lopez. He maybe rushed some shots and played impatiently in the first half, but he really settled into a vision of what he is and showed flashes for what more he could become.

And he's the focus here. Everyone else is playing their role, and none of it is surprising. Jerami Grant still has a funky shooting motion that results in erratic jumpers that seem to go in more than they should, Furkan Aldemir tries hard and rebounds and picks and nothing else, and T.J. McConnell is described by your uncle as "gritty" and other positive no-talent descriptors. Jordan McRae wants to be Jamal Crawford but just isn't, complete with wingspan without defense.

The Sixers face Boston tonight, who brings Marcus Smart and a guard-heavy team even to summer league. Like, the Celtics' biggest guy on the roster is 6'10" and not an NBA player after completely-unrelated-to-AI Colton Iverson left the team because David Lee is an insurmountable obstacle that cannot be scaled. Okafor, if he plays, can feast against whatever the Celtics throw at him.

While that might not be a great test, it should be fun to watch. The future might be in a mostly empty NBA gym in Salt Lake City tonight, and I couldn't be more excited.

3 things to look for: Okafor's hustle on a back-to-back, the Sixers matching smaller lineups and providing some more spacing, and Okafor's technique in boxing out.