Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor
24-Year-Old CenterC
New Orleans Pelicans
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Okafor appeared in a career-high 59 games in 2018-19 while accumulating averages of 8.2 points (58.6 FG%, 66.3 FT%), 4.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 blocks and 0.3 steals in 15.8 minutes. Based on those solid counting stats in limited playing time, it's not really surprising that in 24 starts Okafor offered 13.9 points (61.3 FG%, 64.4 FT%), 7.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 0.9 assists and 0.4 steals in 25.6 minutes per game. An improved diet and focus level helped him flourish in the aftermath of the Anthony Davis trade request, and Okafor took full advantage of his opportunities. Okafor figures to remain in a reserve role behind newcomer Derrick Favors and may have to fight off rookie Jaxson Hayes for the primary backup big man gig. It's also possible that the duo of rookie power forwards, Zion Williamson and Nicolo Melli, will steal some center minutes in small-ball lineups. As such, Okafor might have to scratch and claw just to match his stats from last season. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $1.57 million contract with the Pelicans in August of 2018. Pelicans exercised $1.7 million team option for 2019-20 in June of 2019.
Personal Bio

Jahlil Obika Okafor was born in 1995 in Chicago, Illinois. He is the son of the late Decresha Lanett Benton and Chukwudi (Chuck) Obika Okafor. He has one older sister and two younger brothers. Chuck played basketball at Westark Community College, West Texas A&M and Carl Albert State College. Decresha also played basketball at Carl Albert. For high school, Okafor stayed in Chicago and attended Whitney Young High School, where First Lady Michelle Obama also went. As a high school senior, Okafor averaged 24.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, leading Whitney Young to the Illinois Class 4A title while earning national player of the year awards from McDonald's, USA Today and Parade Magazine. He was also co-MVP of both the 2014 McDonald's All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic. Playing for USA Basketball, Okafor earned gold medals at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship and at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 tournament. He is a distant cousin of NBA veteran Emeka Okafor and enjoys playing the saxophone and the tuba. He is also an avid chess player. Fans can follow him on Twitter (@JahlilOkafor) and Instagram (jah8).

College/International Summary

In his one season (2014-15) at Duke, Okafor showed a polished low-post game that helped him win ACC Player of the Year. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 17.3 points (on 66.4 % shooting), 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest. He helped Duke win its first 14 games by scoring at least 12 points in every contest. On Dec. 14, Okafor bullied Elon for 25 points and a season-high 20 rebounds, one of his 11 double-doubles. On Feb. 25, he scored 30 points on 13-of-18 from the field in a win over Virginia Tech. He helped the Blue Devils win their last 10 ACC regular-season games. In the run to the National Championship, the center averaged 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per NCAA Tournament game. The ACC Rookie of the Year helped the Blue Devils beat Wisconsin in the 2015 title game by generating 10 points despite getting into early foul trouble. After one season under coach Mike Kryzyewski, Okafor submitted his name for the 2015 NBA Draft.

Scores 21 points off bench
CNew Orleans Pelicans
August 11, 2020
Okafor notched 21 points (9-11 FG, 3-4 FT), four rebounds, two blocks and one assist in 26 minutes off the bench during Tuesday's loss to the Kings.
ANALYSIS
Okafor was extremely effective in this game, missing just two field goals and one free throw while posting his third game with 20 or more points this season. Okafor hadn't played in the Orlando bubble, but he is likely to receive a decent run on the court now that the Pelicans are eliminated from playoff contention.
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Past Season Summaries
2018

Okafor's first season in the Big Easy saw him compete in a career-high 59 games. He finished the year averaging 8.2 points and 4.7 boards while playing 15.8 minutes per game. The Duke product capped off the year with his best scoring performance of the season in the form of a 30-point game on Apr. 9 versus Golden State. He'd also finish with six double-doubles. Okafor was especially strong when filling in for an injured Anthony Davis, including a 24-point, 15-rebound performance against San Antonio on Jan. 26, a 25-point, 13-rebound performance versus Indiana on Feb. 4, and a 27-point, 12-rebound performance at Houston on Jan. 29. Okafor also recorded a season-high six blocks along with 17 points and 10 rebounds against Detroit on Jan. 23. He scored his 2,000th career point on Mar. 15 against the Suns. The 278 rebounds on the year brought him 24 shy of 1,000 for his career. Okafor also shot a career-best 58.6 percent from the field, improving his career average to 53 percent. He'd also establish a peak 17.9 PER during the campaign.

2017

Okafor split the 2017-18 season between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets. He started his third NBA season with Philly, but an upper-respiratory infection limited his October and November playing time. In addition to the illness, Okafor found himself behind Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson and others on the Philly depth chart. But then an early December deal from Philadelphia to Brooklyn helped turn Okafor's season around. While he received roughly the same amount of playing time (12.5 minutes) in both locations, Okafor found himself much more involved offensively with Brooklyn's offense. He logged more than 22 minutes in his Nets debut against Toronto on Dec. 15, posting 10 points, 4 rebounds and a block. Beginning Jan. 3 against Minnesota, Okafor saw action in each of Brooklyn's next 20 contests. He posted 15 or more points three different times during that span. Okafor's 17-point performance against the Hawks on Jan. 12 came in just over 12 minutes worth of action. The Duke product tallied a season-high 21 points against the Timberwolves on Jan. 27. He followed up that strong effort with a season-best 13 rebounds against the Knicks just three days later. Okafor also served as a defensive anchor when needed. Over the course of a 12-game span from late January to mid-February, Okafor posted at least one rejection in all but four of those contests. But then a lower leg injury and difficult flu symptoms forced Okafor to miss all but four of Brooklyn's last 24 games.

2016

Despite season-ending surgery in March of 2016, Okafor was ready for the 2016-17 season opener. He came off the bench and delivered eight points, three rebounds and one block in just under 16 minutes for the Sixers in a home loss to the Thunder. Okafor appeared in 19 of Philly's first 20 games, with six starts, and averaged 11.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over that span. An early-December illness then forced him to miss three straight games. The second-year player returned Dec. 11 and started eight straight games. On Dec. 29, however, he suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss five of Philadelphia's next six games. On Jan. 14, Okafor started at center and posted 26 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block across 35 minutes during a 109-93 loss to the Wizards. Right knee soreness pestered Okafor for much of January, February and March. On Mar. 12, the young center dropped in 23 points (8-12 FG, 7-8 FT) while adding four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block across 27 minutes during in a win over the Lakers. He made his last appearance of the season on Mar. 22 with six points, two rebounds and two assists during a blowout loss at OKC. Sixers management eventually decided to shut down Okafor for the rest of the season. He ended the season with 50 appearances and per-game averages of 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over 22.7 minutes per contest.

2015

Okafor was the third overall draft pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. Selected by Philadelphia, the 6-foot-10 Chicago native appeared in 53 games (48 starts) for the 76ers and averaged 30.0 minutes of run per contest. He made his NBA debut on Opening Night, Oct. 28, during a loss at Boston. Okafor posted 26 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, plus eight turnovers, in 38 minutes during the loss. The rebuilding Sixers unfortunately lost their first 18 games of the season, with the young Okafor starting at center in each contest. On Nov. 9, Okafor registered his first career double-double with 21 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks in a home loss to the Bulls. On Feb. 6, the Duke product grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds along with 22 points during another home loss to the Bulls. On Feb. 21, the rookie delivered a season-high 31 points, as well as eight rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block, during a loss at Dallas. Things turned bad in late March when the rookie center was diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee. On March 22, Okafor underwent successful arthroscopic season-ending surgery to repair his right meniscus, giving him a jump on the recovery process ahead of the 2016-17 season.

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Transaction History
  • June 25, 2015
    Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 2015 NBA Draft and signed a rookie deal shortly thereafter.
  • December 7, 2017
    Traded by the Philadelphia 76ers with Nik Stauskas and a 2019 2nd round draft pick to the Brooklyn Nets for Trevor Booker.
  • August 8, 2018
    Signed a one-year deal as a free agent with the New Orleans Pelicans.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
After what was a wasted season in 2017-18, Okafor signed a two-year deal with the Pelicans in hopes of reviving his young career. After being freed from Philadelphia, Okafor was barely able to get into the rotation during his time with the Nets, and while the Pelicans aren't exactly stacked up front, Okafor will still have plenty of work cut out for him if he's to see anything close to meaningful minutes. The former No. 3 overall pick has worked his way into notably better shape this offseason, but it remains to be seen whether that will translate to an overall game better suited to the modern NBA, particularly on the defensive end, where the bulk of his struggles have come.
The third overall pick in the 2015 draft has had a tumultuous two seasons in Philadelphia. As a rookie, he was the starting center right out of the gate, a job he held any time he was healthy. He was involved in multiple early-season, late-night, off-court incidents. On the court, however, he showed promise, leading the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game, while adding 7.0 rebounds in 30.0 minutes. His season ended after a meniscus tear in March, cutting off his rookie year after only 53 games, but there was guarded optimism about his future potential. He made it through his sophomore season without any off-court incidents, but his play, and his workload, took a significant step backwards. He averaged only 22.7 minutes and played in only 50 games, and most of his missed contests were due to further knee problems – though there were a few healthy scratches when he seemed on the brink of being traded. Both his per game totals and his per-36 minute stats got worse in almost every category, and he enters his third season as the likely third string center, behind Joel Embiid and 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes. Holmes ended 2016-17 as the 76ers starting center, after Embiid and Okafor had both been ruled out for the season. Holmes played well, showing more athleticism and versatility than Okafor. Okafor has not yet shown any ability to masquerade as a power forward, but even if he had, the 76ers don’t have extra power forward minutes available, as it is the natural position of recent lottery picks Ben Simmons and Dario Saric, as well as free agent signing Amir Johnson. The 76ers have invested heavily in Okafor, and they are likely to try to find opportunities that might re-energize his career, but based on the current state of affairs, he is unlikely to have much Fantasy value outside of deep leagues unless injuries open up the depth chart ahead of him.
Following a decorated freshman season at Duke, Okafor was drafted third overall by the Sixers and assumed starting center duties right away. While he flourished as the team’s top scoring threat in the frontcourt from the outset, off-court concerns dogged Okafor early in his rookie season. In just the first two months of the season, Okafor was involved in an altercation outside a nightclub, had a gun pulled on him in another altercation and was cited for driving 108 miles per hour. The collection of misdeeds resulted in the 76ers handing him a two-game suspension in early December, but Okafor seemed to respond well after that, both from a performance and maturity standpoint. He would go on to finish the campaign with averages of 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 30.0 minutes per game over 53 appearances before his season was cut short in March after he was diagnosed with a slight tear in his right meniscus. Okafor is healthy heading into his second season, but despite his impressive box-score contributions as a rookie, the jury remains out on his ability to be a difference maker on the defensive end. At 6-foot-11 and 275 pounds, Okafor is heftier than most centers, but lacks the athleticism to guard the perimeter or protect the rim. Moreover, he frequently didn’t mesh well with Nerlens Noel, a natural center who was often forced to play power forward due to Okafor’s inability to match up with stretch-four types. Things will get only more complicated for Sixers coach Brett Brown in 2016-17 when former No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid joins the rotation following a two-year absence due to foot injury, making it likely that the organization will eventually have to deal away either Okafor or Noel to clear up the logjam down low. For now, the presence of Noel and Embiid along with the addition of top overall pick Ben Simmons, who is projected to start at power forward, could mean a slightly decreased role for Okafor in Year 2, though he should remain the team’s best low-post scorer whenever he’s on the floor.
After a successful college campaign at Duke University culminated in an NCAA title, Okafor was selected third overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the 76ers, one year after they chose Joel Embiid at the same slot. During his lone collegiate season, the 19-year-old center averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.3 assists, and 0.8 steals in 30 minutes. Okafor completed 66 percent of his shots from the field and 51 percent of his free-throw attempts. Through a five-game stint at summer league, he averaged 16.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 31 minutes per game, marred by his 45-percent mark from the field and 41-percent accuracy at the free-throw line. Okafor enters the league as an accomplished post player, and his solid footwork, soft touch, and opportunity on a non-playoff roster make him the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. However, for all of his tantalizing box score stats, Okafor's struggles in summer league exposed a few fatal flaws, namely his lack of elite athleticism, below-the-rim presence, and inability to create necessary space against lengthy defenders. Coach Brett Brown requires peak physical condition from his players in order to run their up-tempo offense, and Okafor will have to match satisfy Brown's expectations if he's going to thrive in the league.
More Fantasy News
Not seeing action
CNew Orleans Pelicans
February 5, 2020
Okafor (coach's decision) went unused Tuesday in the Pelicans' 120-108 loss to the Bucks.
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Not part of rotation
CNew Orleans Pelicans
January 22, 2020
Okafor (coach's decision) didn't see the floor during Wednesday's 121-117 loss to the Spurs.
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Good to go Wednesday
CNew Orleans Pelicans
January 22, 2020
Okafor (back) is available to play Wednesday against the Spurs.
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Trending toward return
CNew Orleans Pelicans
Back
January 22, 2020
Okafor (back) is probable for Wednesday's game against the Spurs.
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Could return Wednesday
CNew Orleans Pelicans
Back
January 21, 2020
Okafor (back) is questionable for Wednesday's game against San Antonio, Will Guillory of The Athletic reports.
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