By Sarah Berkowitz
Sixers coach Brett Brown is a patient teacher, and he likes to let us know when he is pleased with rookie center Jahlil Okafor:
“The best thing I have heard in a while is going into the locker room after the game and having him come to me and say, ‘I have to be a better defensive rebounder. I want to get help to be a better defensive rebounder,’” Brown said from Sixers practice Tuesday. “You just want to hug him right then and there on the spot.”
One of the knocks on Okafor’s game at Duke game was his defensive rebounding. And through three NBA games this season, the rookie center hasn’t shown marked improvement, averaging 5.3 boards per game and snagging just one defensive rebound in 27 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Cavs.
“It’s something I’m working on,” Okafor said. “I’ve asked one of our strength guys how I can improve on that end of the floor, playing against bigger guys. [Monday], I was specifically focused on boxing out, making sure my man wasn’t getting offensive rebounds. I need to figure out how to box out and make sure my man doesn’t get the rebound and still get the rebound as well.”