The Nets led the Wizards by 40 points at one point in Friday’s win in Brooklyn but recently acquired big man Jahlil Okafor never left the bench. Okafor only played in two games with the Sixers before he was traded to the Nets. The team will not deviate from their plan of using Okafor until he’s in optimal physical shape, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
The Barclays Center fans chanted “We Want Okafor!” in the late stages of the game. Head coach Kenny Atkinson said it was tempting to send Okafor into the game but the team’s plans for Okafor are long-term.
“Yeah, I heard it, and I respect the fans and I understand they want to see him,” Atkinson said. “I think we’ve stated from the beginning there’s a plan for him. We’re going to stick with the plan. It was tempting, but again I think we want to put him in the best position to succeed. So we’re going to stick with the plan. I think that’s a little more down the line.”
Okafor, 22, has appeared in just one game with Brooklyn since the trade, posting 10 points and four rebounds in a loss to the Raptors on December 15. General manager Sean Marks has not given a definitive date on when Okafor should be in shape but estimated the former third overall pick is possibly two weeks away from regular playing time.
Check out other news from the Atlantic Division below:
- Phil Jackson‘s tenure as Knicks president may have resulted in numerous controversies but his draft selections are not given enough credit, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Carmelo Anthony was not thrilled with the Knicks on draft night in 2015 as trading Tim Hardaway Jr. and drafting Kristaps Porzingis felt like a rebuild to him, Berman writes. Porzingis has emerged as one of the premiere talents from the 2015 NBA Draft and this year’s pick, Frank Ntilikina, has shown flashes of brilliance, too.
- Current Knicks president Steve Mills, a trusted confidant of Jackson during his reign as president, wishes he was more vocal during the dysfunctional period, Mills said to the Associated Press (via New York Daily News).
- Sixers small forward Robert Covington is still experiencing back stiffness from a back bruise he suffered on December 9, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. Covington said he feels pain on certain mornings and certain plays but he intends to play through the ailment.