- Fox Sports/NBA
Philadelphia 76ers second-year center Jahlil Okafor has never been known for playing stellar defense.
But on Wednesday night, Okafor took the phrase “matador defense” to a new level against the Miami Heat in a baffling 12 seconds.
There’s a difference between playing poor defense – being out of position, a step slow, confused on an assignment, etc. – and flat-out not trying. Okafor did the latter against the Heat, failing to give even a modicum of effort on a floater by Goran Dragic, an offensive rebound by Rodney McGruder, and a follow-up floater by Hassan Whiteside.
It’s been a rough season for Okafor. He was demoted to third in the 76ers’ center rotation, behind Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel, as his name circulated in trade rumors throughout the season. At one point, he was actually kept home during a road trip as a trade seemed imminent. However, at the deadline, Noel was traded and not Okafor. As a result, Okafor has had to resume playing in a place he probably doesn’t want to be for a team that probably doesn’t want him.
Still, Jahlil, you have to give just a little bit of effort.