Finals matchup: White vs. O'Brien at power forward

Apr 22, 2021 by Print
Finals matchup: White vs. O'Brien at power forward

Among the leaders in minutes played on their respective teams, Okaro White and Jaleel O'Brien bring a lot more to their teams on both ends of the floor than what their numbers show. It is hard to find any teammate for either player who brings more intangibles to the floor than White does for UNICS and O'Brien for Monaco. These two well-matched and busy performers will be going up against the other in the EuroCup Finals series starting on April 27.

Okaro White, UNICS Kazan

White has been a much-needed versatile big piece in the UNICS lineup. He has been a great contributor on the boards for UNICS the entire season, averaging 5.6 per game. However, his all-around contribution grew as the season progressed before peaking during the quarterfinals and semifinals. In both of those series, White has come up huge for UNICS. In the three-game quarterfinals against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, he posted 14.3 points on 46.2% three-point shooting to go with 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 block per game. In the semis, White showed how important his presence in the paint is to the team once center Jordan Morgan went down with an injury in Game 3. Not only did the team did not miss a beat, but White went on to pace UNICS to that do-or-die victory with a career-high 22 points. White led UNICS in the semifinals with 28:49 minutes per game while averaging 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds, both the second-most on the team. The 29-year old forward is now looking to keep up these levels in the EuroCup Finals, too.

Jaleel O'Brien, AS Monaco

One of the main reasons Monaco has a third-best scoring defense (75.4 ppg.) is the presence of O'Brien. Invaluable on both ends of the floor despite coming off the bench ever since the end of the regular season, O'Brien rarely leaves the floor once he enters the game. Only one Monaco player averages more minutes (26:33) than O'Brien, who puts up 9.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. An athletic bruiser inside, but also reliable with his shooting from the outside, O'Brien has knocked down 19 triples this season. But few things can show better how dangerous O'Brien can be than Monaco's semifinals sweep of Herbalife Gran Canaria. O'Brien averaged 13.0 points in two games while knocking down all 4 of his three-point attempts. He might have averaged just 2.0 rebounds in the series, but that did not stop head coach Zvezda Mitrovic from keeping O'Brien more than 30 minutes per game on the floor. Monaco will need O'Brien to bring all of his intangibles in the EuroCup Finals, too.