Year-In-Review | Jahlil Okafor
50 G | 22.7 MPG | 11.8 PPG (51.4 FG%) | 67.1 FT% | 4.8 RPG | 1.2 A
• As a result of rotational and injury factors, Okafor was limited to 50 games this season, three fewer than his total as an All-Rookie First-Team selection a year ago. Not unrelated, he played 22.7 minutes per tilt, compared to the 30.0 minute average from his debut campaign. Subsequently, Okafor’s scoring and rebounding output dipped in year two with the Sixers. His field goal percentage, however, increased slightly, up to 51.4 percent. Okafor had five 20-point performances, and two double-doubles.
• After serving primarily as a back-up for the first month and a half of the season, Okafor was given the chance to start alongside Joel Embiid during the final three weeks of December. The Duke product reprised his role as a starter later in the year on the heels of Embiid hurting his left knee. In the instances in which he was used on a more extensive, regular basis, Okafor had moments where he found his groove. He strung together six consecutive double-figure scoring showings in early March, with his rebounding numbers enjoying a bump amid this stretch as well.
• Okafor, who, for a second straight year, was selected to represent Team U.S.A. in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, made his final appearance of the season March 22nd in Oklahoma City. Soreness in his right knee forced him out of the Sixers’ last 11 games.
Even though Okafor played through lingering right knee pain, there were flashes this season where he looked like his normal, spry self. One such example came March 17th, against former teammate and good friend Nerlens Noel and the Dallas Mavericks March. Here, after snagging a jump ball tap, Okafor’s nimble footwork - an asset for a player his size - was on full display, and put to productive use.
Throughout Okafor’s second season, he and Brett Brown spoke frequently about the need to act quickly. Along these lines, the head coach would routinely encourage and remind the 2015 number three pick to spend no more than half a second when deciding what to do with the basketball. Okafor applied this mindset effectively in the Sixers’ March 14th visit to Oracle Arena, pouring in 22 points against Golden State.
Against New York on February 25th, Okafor deposited a season-high 28 points, in addition to hauling in 10 rebounds. He nailed 11 of 19 field goals, including a go-ahead jump hook with nine seconds remaining in regulation.
Statement for the Summer:
“The majority of the summer, I’m going to be here, working the Sixers staff, pretty much just staying here, trying to get my knee in a great place. Everything I’m doing right now is rest, and strengthening my knee.”