The Wizards beat the 76ers 129-95 in their first preseason game of year. Rookie big man Jahlil Okafor was one of the only bright spots for Philadelphia, a fact not lost on Wizards center Marcin Gortat.
Okafor shot 6 of 10 from the floor -- hitting his first four attempts -- for 12 points while being guarded by the Polish Machine. He also finished with two rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
After the game, Gortat didn't go easy on the rookie.
"I think he's a talented kid," Gortat said. "I see a little version of Al Jefferson. Slow, but strong methodical big man with a ready, pretty nice game in the post. He hit a couple of tough shots."
"One thing is [for] sure: He's on my list right now. The next four games I'm coming, I'm coming. I hope he's going to read that. I'm coming. I'm coming for him."
Word didn't take long to get back to Okafor, who gave a bemused, even flattered response.
“Honestly, I thought it was funny, also like a sign of respect,” Okafor told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This is a guy that has been in the league for a while. I’m a 19-year-old, who is out here trying to make his way into the NBA, trying to make my presence felt.
“For him to say I’m on his list, thanks. I’m not afraid or anything like that. It’s a sign of respect, kind of a good feeling.”
Since performing admirably against Gortat, Okafor hasn't found as much success. He went 4 for 12 from the floor against the Cavaliers in preseason, then 1 for 6 against the Nets. A bout of knee soreness caused him to miss the Sixers' loss to the Knicks Monday as well as practice Tuesday.
The rookie insists he's not injured, but John Finger of CSNPhilly.com reports that he'll be under a minutes restriction if he plays at all on Friday against the Wizards.
Gortat had better hope Okafor's knee is 100 percent by Friday, otherwise these two bigs won't meet again until February 5, 2016.
Update: No such luck for this rematch.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) October 15, 2015