Season in review: Emeka Okafor

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

With Emeka Okafor’s five-year streak of averaging a double-double for five consecutive years coming to an end in 2009-10, the quick take on his season was that he was a much less effective player. Furthermore, Okafor himself expressed dissatisfaction with the way he performed in his debut with the Hornets.

Interestingly though, if you take a closer look at the numbers, the 6-foot-10 center essentially wasn’t less productive compared to his half-decade with the Bobcats – he just played substantially fewer minutes here.

On a pure-minute basis, the Houston native improved his rebounding and shot-blocking with New Orleans. In a Hornets uniform, Okafor grabbed a rebound every 3.19 minutes he was on the court (compared to every 3.25 minutes in Charlotte during 2008-09) and blocked a shot every 18.7 minutes (it was every 19.8 minutes in ’08-09).

His points-per-minute did decrease slightly, but frankly, that shouldn’t have come as a big surprise while he transitioned from a Bobcats team that often lacks scoring punch to a Hornets club with two players coming off back-to-back All-Star appearances. I thought Okafor would get fewer scoring opportunities with the Hornets as less of a primary option, but that his looks would be higher-percentage ones based on playing with a better point guard. Unfortunately for Okafor and the Hornets, injuries helped prevent that from happening.

Even though he missed training camp and the entire preseason slate, one major positive from Okafor’s season was that he appeared in all 82 games for the third straight NBA season. Okafor’s consecutive-games played streak is now at 257.