Okafor-for-Chandler: Edge to Bobcats
Keep in mind, we're not talking impact players here; only players who have had an impact on games at times. And Chandler has had more of those times than Okafor.
Then, of course, there's the other advantage from the Bobcats' side: Chandler has one year remaining on his deal with an early termination option for 2011-12, and Okafor has three more years remaining with an early termination option for 2013-14.
Look, neither Okafor nor Chandler has lived up to expectations as pros. Okafor has proven to be a disappointing consolation prize as the No. 2 pick to Dwight Howard in 2004.
Okafor always has been able to rebound and block shots, but the other areas of his game are stagnant. The growth in Okafor's back-to-the-basket game has been marginal at best during his five-year playoff-less NBA career.
Bottom line with Okafor is the more you feed him in the low post, the less effective he becomes. He shoots a high percentage because he can put back garbage, not because he knows how to use a drop-step or shoot the half-hook.
He's still not adept at passing out of a double-team, not that you necessarily have to double-team him in the first place. But you can go there if you're looking to turn him over.
Chandler's no world-beater, either, but he has had stretches of dominance on defense. The fact that Chandler is taller, longer and more of a center than Okafor gives him the ability to impact a game in ways Okafor cannot.
During New Orleans' playoff run in 2008-09, Chandler was the Hornets' defensive anchor. He was also a perfect fit on offense, with an ability to run the high screen-and-roll with point guard Chris Paul. Not to mention, Chandler could live with a limited amount of touches.
Okafor is a little different, a little more high maintenance, if you will. Okafor spends more time in the low post than Chandler and asks for the ball more than Chandler. Let's see how David West likes that.
Oh, and forget about seeing Paul-to-Okafor alley-oops like you sometimes saw Paul-to-Chandler alley oops. Okafor's hands aren't good enough for that.
Okafor has been a double-double guy his whole career, which you've got to acknowledge. But it's also true he's vastly overpaid, has never played on a winner and will never make teammates better.
Okafor's numbers aren't completely hollow, but you can hear an echo in there. As for Chandler, he is less consistent than Okafor, but when he's playing at his peak he's more of a difference-maker.
This one isn't likely to alter the fortunes of either franchise. But if Chandler's big toe is healthy and he can be as productive as he was two years ago, he'll push the Bobcats a little closer to their first-ever postseason.