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  • Erik Slater

Nets feeling the effects of Okafor trade

The Brooklyn Nets have put together a series of disappointing performances in four straight losses.

Kenny Atkinson recently stated that the team has lost its "it" factor. The Nets big men have lacked energy and toughness as of late.

The Nets front office traded Trevor Booker for an unproven, but talented, 22-year-old Center in Jahlil Okafor with the hope of developing him into a quality player.

The trade could prove to be a smart move. Okafor may develop into an important foundation piece, but until then the Nets will feel the effect of losing Booker.

Booker was a large part of the "it" factor Atkinson was referring to. He provided many intangibles that are often the difference between winning and losing.

The 30-year-old brought a physical presence and energy that was contagious to those around him. This has been lacking in recent games against rugged big men such as Zach Randolph. Brooklyn has struggled defensively in the low post and surrendered continuous offensive rebounds.

Okafor has not been able to add immediate help due to his lack of playing time and conditioning. Atkinson recently announced that Okafor will not see the floor until his conditioning allows him to play at the pace the Nets are accustomed to.

When asked about Booker's absence, Atkinson replied, "I don't feel like we're playing short-handed. We have Quincy (Acy) and Jarrett (Allen) in there as our backup bigs."

Quincy Acy has received extended minutes as a result of the trade. The 27-year-old journeyman is a one-dimensional player who has looked flustered in key moments of recent games. Jarrett Allen is developing his game in his rookie season. However, the 19-year-old has a slender frame and struggles to match the physicality of many NBA big men. Acy and Allen are a major step down from Booker.

The Nets front office gave up integral piece in Booker in order to acquire a potential star. Brooklyn's player development staff has steadily improved the play of young players such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris. Sean Marks clearly has confidence in them to do the same with Okafor.

Marks has done a solid job gathering young players with upside for Brooklyn. The trade for Okafor could pay off in a huge way, but in the short-term Trevor Booker will surely be missed.