Scouting Report: Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor is a center for the University of Duke. Okafor is 6’11 with a wingspan of 7’5. For the year, Okafor is averaging 30.3 minutes per game, 17.5 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game, 1.4 blocks per game, while shooting 66.8% from the field.

Pros:

  • Strong, powerful NBA body
  • Skilled back to the basket scorer
  • Soft touch around the basket
  • Soft hands
  • Good rebounder
  • Amazing footwork
  • Quick feet
  • Has ability to dribble or pass out of double teams without panicking
  • Draws a lot of fouls
  • High basketball IQ
  • Very coachable
  • Emotionally stable
  • Team player
  • Knows his limitations

Cons:

  • Lack of athleticism
  • Not an elite rim protector
  • No impact on the defensive side of the ball
  • Struggles with pick and rolls
  • Struggles shooting outside the paint
  • Lack of upside
  • Needs to stay conditioned to maximize potential athletically

Overall:

Okafor is as skilled offensively as anyone ever coming out of college. Okafor posses so much poise and humility as a nineteen year old and who seems to have the desire to be the best. Although Okafor is rarely seen to lose his cool, his presence is electrifying for his teammates who cling to him and feed off his intensity. Okafor has great basketball IQ and uses this to suck off every bit of knowledge his coaches give him to improve. Down low Okafor is a force to be reckon with. If you leave him in a one on one situation he will use his plethora of offensive moves on you and get a basket, and more than likely draw a foul. Now if you double team him, Okafor has the court presence to find the open perimeter player and you will get burned from deep. Defensively, Okafor is not a liability but he is just not as dominant as he is offensively. Although he has improved as the year has gone on it will take a lot of hard work for him to make defense a strength. Due to his lack of athleticism, Okafor is said to have a lack of potential and some say he is already peaked, or is close to peaking for his potential. This does not seem like a logical assumption to believe as he is very coachable and with some work on his shooting outside the paint and coaching on the defensive side of the ball he could exceed the already high expectations we have for him. Okafor will be a top two player drafted in the 2015 NBA draft. His opponent for the number one selection is Karl-Anthony Towns who is the high potential, defensive stalwart, but if the Knicks land the number one pick, Okafor fits into their offense a lot better than Towns.

Pro Comparison:

Al Jefferson

Although most people will make the comparison to Tim Duncan, which is not too far off, Okafor is not at that level defensively to be what Duncan is and that is why Al Jefferson makes a better comparison. Both players are incredibly gifted on the offensive side of the ball, and few big man operate down low like Jefferson can. Both use a array of different post moves to get to the basket and have great finishing ability around the rim. Jefferson is not as good as a passer as Okafor and therefore does not pass out of sticky situations and will take a contested shot. Jefferson has been an extremely underrated player in the NBA, as he does nothing but post double doubles and is a key clog for contending playoff teams. Defensively, both of these players match up very well as they both struggle on that side of the court and do not have the same presence that they bring offensively. With this all said, Okafor has a slightly higher ceiling than a player like Jefferson, because he has the ability to learn defense and become the next Tim Duncan, but if becomes the next Al Jefferson the league will gain another good player that contending teams can use to build around.

By: Mac Crowe @Mac_Truck17

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