Jahlil Okafor (Freshman, Duke, @BigJah15)
Product of…Whitney Young (Chicago, IL)
17.7 points/game, 9 rebounds/game, 1.4 assists/game
Talented big man Jahlil Okafor is a strong favorite to be selected number one overall in this June’s draft. With great size and a pretty developed arsenal on the block, there’s a reason why teams like the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers will all be jockeying for his services in the draft. Likened to an Al Jefferson type of player (excellent hands, comfortable scoring down low, etc.), Okafor doesn’t figure to have a very steep learning curve like his peers. A true “throwback” post player, he is ready to contribute right now.
The unquestioned leader of the Blue Devils, Jahlil is laced with incredible intangibles (highly coachable, infectious energy) that NBA GMs salivate over. Although he needs to improve his shooting touch, from the field and foul line, Okafor is as polished as any pivot to enter the draft in some time.
-Physically imposing force in the paint; can score from either block using either hand; very patient and does not normally force the issue
-Advanced footwork for a freshman; very nice balance of banging and finishing with a soft touch
-Very high upside; defensive potential is not through the roof but he can easily be a 20 & 10 player a couple of years down the line
-Needs to make quicker decisions when double-teamed in the post; has a tendency to overthink simple passes at times
-Free-throw shooting is a major work in progress; form is passable but has to develop a more consistent release point
-Most suitable playing alongside a shot blocking presence since he lacks elite athleticism and is not explosive
D.O.G. Status: Okafor has true franchise player potential. Teams in need of inside scoring, rebounding, and leadership will be knocking down his door. We’re looking at a perennial All-Star in a couple of years.
NBA Comparison: Al Jefferson