Big O is the anchor we need in the lineup

“I’m a dog”.-Oneyka Okongwu.
It’s about trust. It’s about right now. Who do you trust more defending Embiid? Vucevic? Greek Freak? Bam? When you need a stop of the opposing teams big man, would you rather have Big O or Clint? You’ve watched our games this year. Consider last year in the playoffs, Big O only played 6 min a game vs Knicks, 9 minutes a game vs Philly and 11 minutes against the Bucks. But we know now that O wasn’t healthy. Clint guarded Joel and Joel was dropping 30 plus. Lopez was unstoppable.
Rebounds count, yes. But rebounds are a result of missed shots. Stopping the shot in the first place is what we need. Blocks are def important for defense. And that’s why I say if you keep Clint, have him come off bench and concentrate on getting all rebounds and block shots. From last year, Clint is down from 15.8 pts a game to 11.8. He is only down 1 rebound a game per average. His FG % is a bit lower. In the playoffs last year he avgeraged 10 points a game. His free throw % went from 57% to 46% currently.
As of the moment, Big O is averaging 23 minutes a game. He is shooting 78% from the floor. He is getting 9pts, 6 boards, 1.5 blocks a game. Shoots 65% free throw %. But here is something that I wanted to note:
From 0-5 ft from the basket, O is shooting 86%. That’s on 3.9 shots attempted from that distance. From 5-9 feet its 37% and from 10-14 ft he shoots 75%. As a comparison, Clint shoots 61%. That’s getting 7.8 attempts at that distance and hitting 4.8. That’s a 25 point difference on shots point blank at the basket. When the difference in the final score is between 3-7 points, that shows up. From 5-9 feet he shoots 31% and from 10-14 he shoots 66%.
My point? If Onyeka gets 35 minutes a night not only is he giving you lock down defensive effort on all possessions, he is productive offensively and he is making a difference. Over the past 5 games he has played he has missed 6 shots (Remember he wasn’t starting until the last 2 games). He finishes at the basket, he has touch around the rim. So besides getting an alley, he can cut on a give and go and finish, he hits put backs. If he has a mismatch he can score. Hawks defense rose a level with O out there, even Gallo played defense. His one on one defense is better that Clint and that can’t really be disputed. 12 points, 8 boards, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal and 67% from the floor against the Greek Freak. Giannis was 2-12 against O. 
Team has 25 losses. Season is on the line. Can’t play players as Demond Thomas has suggested “based on ego or money”. One of the reasons we won Monday was that Nate did not allow TLC to get back in game and do nothing for 17 minutes (played only 3). O played 35 minutes, not 24 (because GD did not play). When the momentum said keep Gallo (AND) O in the game at the same time, John stayed on the bench rather than what he usually does, bring in people at the wrong time (example, bringing in the entire starting lineup even though half of them weren’t hitting shots and the bench got you back in the game vs Miami). Players have to contribute all the time, not once a season (TLC). Momentum has to be paid attention to. We have to play defense.
Currently team is 28th in defense and 2nd in offense. That’s ridiculous. If you can change your defensive mindset by putting in your most consistent defensive player for major minutes, why wouldn’t you do that? This also goes to Bogi coming off the bench so he can’t shoot us out games as well (he went from 16 a game to 12, 47% from the floor to 41% and from 43% from three to 35%). Let him come off bench and go 4-9 from 3 instead of 4-16 from the field.
Last night, Big O had 17 points, 8 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 5 blocks. 7-9 from the free throw line. He played KAT the whole 2nd half and KAT only scored 5 points and he was frustrated (Big O was snapping at him too). Did you see the team pick up it’s defense after his block on KAT? John’s block? It’s not a fluke or an accident. He needs to be on the floor the rest of the season. Go with the momentum.
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