NBA Rumors: Ex-76er Jahlil Okafor Worked out for Teams, Hopeful for NBA Return

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2018

BROOKLYN, NY - MARCH 11:  Jahlil Okafor #4 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 11, 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, remains a free agent this summer, but he is generating some interest around the league.

According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, Okafor has "worked out for four teams last Wednesday in Las Vegas, and remains hopeful of signing with a team ahead of training camp next fall."

Okafor, 22, has had a strange three years in the NBA. After a promising rookie season that saw him average 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the Philadelphia 76ers, Okafor found himself in a logjam at center in the 2016-17 season, buried behind Joel Embiid on the depth chart and battling with Nerlens Noel and Richaun Holmes for minutes. 

Okafor played in 50 games that season, averaging 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. But he completely fell out of Philadelphia's rotation last year and was ultimately traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where he averaged just 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 26 games. He never made a start for the Nets and averaged just 12.6 minutes per contest. 

He's the latest big man to suffer in the increasingly small-ball NBA.

Okafor doesn't check many of the boxes for a modern NBA center. He's a liability on defense, has never shown the shooting range to extend beyond the three-point line and isn't a rim-running finisher in the pick-and-roll. While he has a solid low-post game and can create offense with his back to the basket, that style of play isn't exactly in fashion, especially for players who can't protect the rim defensively. 

As for where he could end up, Deveney reported that he won't be returning to the Nets but "has had interest from the [Indiana] Pacers and [Chicago] Bulls, among others, this summer but neither were at the workout in Las Vegas."


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