The package deal heard 'round college basketball—wait, already used that lead. Let's start over.
Jahlil Okafor won't get on SportsCenter's top plays very often. The new Duke big man isn't an explosive athlete or a jaw-dropping dunker.
What he is, is a player who makes basketball plays, usually the right one at the time. He'll score in the paint on hooks, drop steps, up-and-unders—basically anything an NBA coach wants his big men to do, Okafor's already capable of doing it at 18 years old. His hands are soft and his feet are educated, meaning we're not likely to see a ton of stumbling and fumbling in the post.
A very good rebounder and passer, Okafor will have games at which Duke fans will begin murmuring about a potential triple-double with about 15 minutes left. Duke has an arsenal of shooters willing and able to convert kickouts when Okafor can't find a shot of his own.
Okafor's defense lags appreciably behind his offense. He won't block a ton of shots, and big men with perimeter skills will be able to capitalize on his lack of quickness. He has no qualms about banging bodies inside, and at 270 pounds, he'll win a lot more of those collisions than he loses.
Conditioning questions linger, and a tired Okafor could find himself in occasional foul trouble. Still, barring any major surprises, he should be one of the surest things in the Class of 2014.
In perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay, he's sorely tempting me to break my embargo on freshmen on my preseason All-American team. And I wasn't even slightly tempted by Andrew Wiggins.
Okafor's not quite a young Tim Duncan, as Duncan was more athletic in his Wake Forest days. But would you settle for a taller Elton Brand?
Projected Line: 17.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 62.2 FG%