Jahlil Okafor entered the NBA as a generational low post talent, but he's dealt with injuries, off-court issues and a deep center rotation with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Despite a fresh start with the Brooklyn Nets this season, Okafor's place in the NBA remains uncertain as he heads to unrestricted free agency.
“A lot of it has been surprising,” Okafor said when asked if the start of his NBA career thus far has surprised him. “When you’re a kid, and you’re dreaming of the NBA, you don’t think about not being able to play, switching teams and stuff like that. Just trying to get used to that and learning as much as I can, so I guess you could say that’s a surprise to me."
Okafor asked Jabari Parker for advice as a fellow Duke product that has had some issues establishing himself as well.
“I always tell Jah just like when he was going through the recruiting process, you’ve got to go to a place that’s going to be engulfed in you and is going to give you that opportunity,” Parker said. “That’s all it takes. It’s just a chance. Right? He really hasn’t been given a chance. That hasn’t been fair for him.”
“Incredible people, a truly good human being, and I didn’t play him,” the 76ers' Brett Brown said of Okafor’s time in Philadelphia. “It would be easy for there to be conflict. There isn’t. I enjoy seeing him. I enjoy seeing his partner. They’ve been together for a while. He has told me, and I communicate with Nik (Stauskas) and Jahlil, that there really isn’t room for them right now (in Brooklyn). They’re not in their plans right now, so they’re going with their guys, and again he doesn’t play. But I think physically he looks good. His spirit seems to be great, and he certainly has a place in this league. I am fond of Jahlil Okafor. I feel like we tried to do our best for him. It didn’t work out here, and we wish him well.”