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You'll Never Believe This But A Real Life NBA Team Just Signed Jahlil Okafor

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets

Ok, well sort of. But at this point in Okafor’s career, a partial guarantee from a real life NBA team is better than having to go to the G-League. Clearly the Pelicans front office saw his summer workouts, because nothing we saw during the regular season last year showed us that this is a guy who has the skill level to make an NBA roster.

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Honestly, I feel for the guy, well as much as one can when talking about a young dude with millions, but from a basketball standpoint Okafor is one of the more crazy cases of a guy that showed so much promise as a rookie and is now virtually unplayable just 3 seasons later. The biggest thing I would always hear when it came to Okafor was that he just needed an opportunity. That he could get back to that 17/7 on 50% player if he was just given minutes. Well, after being buried on the Sixers bench and then traded to BKN last year, I was ready to see if that was true. The Nets stunk and theoretically had minutes available for him, and yet he was a DNP-CD after DNP-CD. Initially it was “well, he just has to get in shape”. I get it, he sat for forever in PHI and needed his game legs, but how long does that take? Okafor played just once in the first 14 games post the trade, played a little here and there in January, and then once February rolled around was back to DNPs. So was it more that maybe he stinks as opposed to not being in shape? I mean he got traded on December 7th and played just 26 total games as a Net. So I’m going to have to reject the “He just needs a new opportunity/get in shape” excuse.

The issue is clearly that Okafor’s game is not made for today’s NBA. He has to figure out a way to adjust and not be the slow, back to the basket player he was in his rookie year. If you’re going to be as horrid as he is on the defensive end (career 110 Drtg), you have to not be a liability offensively. All he does is clog up space, and despite his impressive looking numbers that rookie year, he’s a career 100 Ortg player. For a guy who’s offense was supposed to be his selling point, that’s not all that great. But here’s the good news. He is still only 22 years old. And while personally I feel like I’ve seen enough to know he’s mostly trash, there is still plenty of time for him to get with the right coaches and turn things around. That’s why if you’re NO, why not take the risk? It’s certainly not costing you very much, and while I’m not sure where he’s going to get minutes considering they have Julius Randle/Emeka Okafor/Cheick Diallo/Alexis Ajinca already on the roster in the reserve big spots. Even with Emeka being like 50, I’d much rather give him the minutes because I know he can protect the rim and rebound. Now the Pelicans already have 15 guys on their roster, so I’m not sure who would have to go, but I can’t imagine getting cut in favor of Jahlil Okafor is the best look. But look, when you have a player with Anthony Davis who you know is probably going to be dealing with some sort of injury here and there over the course of the year, I guess it can’t help to have as many warm body bigs as you can.

At some point Okafor is going to run out of “new opportunities” to show that he is in fact not washed up at the tender age of 22, and I wouldn’t exactly tell Pelicans fans to expect much, but who knows they may get lucky and find themselves a somewhat serviceable back up to play in blowouts. At least that’s probably the best case scenario.

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