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Joel Embiid.

Joel Embiid says teammate Jahlil Okafor deserves a chance to play for the Sixers

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With the Philadelphia 76ers blowing out the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, head coach Brett Brown turned to his bench and gave some garbage time minutes to his fringe players. 

One player who wasn't inserted, however, was Jahlil Okafor. The big man continues to remain out of the rotation and has seen his career stall in Philly. 

For the seventh straight game, Okafor didn't get a single minute on the floor. The last time he played was on November 7 in a win over the Utah Jazz where he registered just three minutes of action. 

Overall, the 21-year-old has appeared in just two of the team's first 17 games so far this season. 

It's hard not to feel sympathy for the youngster who was a star in college with Duke and was selected with the number three overall pick by the Sixers.

Even some of his teammates believe he's being hard done by as Joel Embiid addressed the situation after beating the Blazers.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Philadelphia 76ers

“I feel like he deserves a chance, and I support him,” Embiid said, per Philly.com “I’ve got to have my teammate’s back.”

The decision not to put Okafor into the game led to an interesting response from 76ers fans who chanted, “We want Okafor!” 

Egged on by Embiid, they chanted over and over, pleading with coach Brown to allow the center to take to the court but he paid no attention to their wishes. 

“To just hoist somebody a little tiny window of minutes isn’t something that interests me,” Brown said. “I say that out of respect to [Okafor]. I don’t think that puts him in a position that I want to put him in.”

It's not just the fans inside the Wells Fargo Center who are calling for the NCAA champion to receive some minutes. 

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers

His father turned up to their recent encounter with the Golden State Warriors wearing a t-shirt that said "FREE JAH".

He even posed with Dubs stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green who appeared to endorse the message. 

Okafor's days in Philadelphia are certainly numbered but the franchise is unwilling to grant him a buyout and will only consider a trade despite declining to pick up his 2018-19 option last month.

If another team fails to come in for him, he could spend the entire year without playing before becoming a free agent in the summer.

There's no question that the former Blue Devil has talent as he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games in his rookie year.

He just needs to land in the right situation to showcase his skills and resume his NBA career.

Topics:
Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Jahlil Okafor

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