Jahlil Okafor Rumors

All NBA Players
#8
Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor
Position: C
Born: 12/15/95
Height: 6-10 / 2.08
Weight:270 lbs. / 122.5 kg.
Salary: $1,702,486
Appearing on Philadelphia sports radio WIP’s morning show, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was asked about Okafor’s struggles with the 76ers and was very open and frank in discussing them. “Jahlil is a youngster that had to go (to the NBA), because of the economics,” he said. “He was going to be a top-three pick. Jahlil is one of the really great kids I’ve had the opportunity to coach. He has a pure heart. Now away from that, Jahlil’s maturity … This doesn’t mean he’s immature. He needed to be part of a village longer.”
Mike Krzyzewski: “We all go through things when were 18, 22—some of us do it the rest of our lives—that are new, and if we’re not in a structure or environment that can help us more. Not saying the Sixers didn’t. It’s on Jahlil. He didn’t have that. He made mistakes that he would never make. That happens all the time. I see it all the time, not just athletes but kids on campus. They have freedom. It’s their first time away from home. In his case, you’ve get money.”
Mike Krzyzewski: “I talked to Trajan Langdon, the GM of the Pelicans (and former Duke player). He’s raved about Jah. He still has to transform his game to the NBA. As far as a role model (he’s been) the best. Not (just) good. I’m proud of him, because he’s learned from the mistakes he made. It’s not on the 76ers. It’s on him, and he’s taken responsibility. Once he took responsibility it was the start of him changing and conquering some of the bad habits he had.”
Acquiring the Nets guard is another piece to their puzzle and may certainly not be the last. NBBF president Musa Kida explained: “New Orleans Pelicans centre Jahlil Okafor is also reportedly interested in fighting for a shirt. There are many top players out there who are eligible to play for us while some may also be thinking of naturalization as allowed by FIBA rules.”
What happened next is one of the most confusing chapters in NBA history. Hinkie essentially clammed up. It’s commonly referred to as “the process,” as in “trust the process,” although Hinkie never used that phrase. Instead he drafted, traded, hired, and managed in ways nobody understood in real time. He traded away fantastic players like Jrue Holiday and for injured ones like Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. He accrued high draft picks and used a lot of them on centers. He grew the league’s biggest-ever collection of second-round picks. He traded away the rookie of the year. And he took the time to explain just about none of his strategy to the public, who knew only that the team was losing an insane, record-setting number of games, which ultimately just pissed people off. In April 2016, Hinkie quit under a ton of pressure, his resignation letter was a treatise on the power of long-term thinking over short. And … now, the 76ers are contenders, thanks to the players, picks, cap room, and assets Hinkie collected.
Okafor noted that Bryant made an impact on Okafor as a 19-year-old Philadelphia rookie, after Okafor had a well-publicized run-in with a fan in Boston after a loss to the Celtics. The 76ers were 0-16 to open that 2015-16 season. “I went through an incident my rookie season and had a lot of bad publicity,” Okafor said. “(Bryant) talked to me and told me not to worry about the outside noise, and let me realize that everybody makes mistakes. Just hearing that from Kobe Bryant at the time, because it was the first time for me being in a negative spotlight, it really meant a lot and took a lot of pressure off my back, having Kobe Bryant tell you that.”
Enter Salley … who says Zion can turn the ship around if he turns his diet around. “My message to Zion? Go vegan, bro. Drink a bunch of water and find out the best way to heal your body, meaning … not just ultrasounds, not just a hot tub, don’t take pills.” The 4-time NBA champ says Zion was destined to become teammates with Jahlil Okafor, who recently made the switch to “mostly” veganism and lost 20 pounds … and Salley wants Williamson to listen to the vet. “Jahlil Okafor will put you on the whole path on losing that weight, getting your knee back in position and playing.”
Oleh Kosel: Alvin Gentry doesn’t think Jahlil Okafor is fully healthy. The center sat out today’s practice but the hope is he can play tomorrow vs Raptors. “Yeah, we’ll see how it goes.” Regarding Jah’s persistent ankle issues, Gentry offered a plausible theory — poor shoe performance. pic.twitter.com/k4G1NeFvj6
Storyline: Jahlil Okafor Injury
Speaking of A.D., what’s it been like playing with him after the relationship you guys had as young kids growing up in Chicago? Jahlil Okafor: It’s been amazing. I’ve known (Davis) for a while. We’ve always been in communication. He’s always reached out and has pretty much been like a resource for me. But to be around him every day and see how he goes about his days — he’s a complete professional — he’s been great. I really can’t put into words how much it’s benefitted me, but I’m super grateful for that.
You guys obviously have a different perspective from us on the outside, but how would you explain what it’s taken for you guys to deal with all of this stuff surrounding A.D. and to separate that from how you see him as a person? Jahlil Okafor: He’s the best person in the world. Obviously, he’s a superstar but he’s like a normal person. We’re super appreciative of how he comes in every day and works. We all appreciate his wish is to be traded and we know that’s probably going to happen eventually. But he’ll always have my respect because I know how much he loves the game and I know the work he puts in.
Mitchell mingled with Wade, CJ McCollum, Jimmy Butler, Delon Wright, Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor, Caron Butler and other celebrities for the kickoff mixer on Monday, Aug. 27, then the next day it was back in the lab for business. That Tuesday, Aug. 28, Mitchell arrived at the Stance World Headquarters facility for an intimate training session alongside Wade, who announced Sunday that he will be returning to Miami for his 16th and final season.
Okafor, who now is in a backup role with the Pelicans, at first ignored the advice of Nets psychologist Dr. Paul Groenewal to seek counseling. “I deal with anxiety,” Okafor said before the Pelicans played the Nets Friday night at Smoothie King Center. “When I first heard about it, I pushed it to the side because I had never heard about it and my family never talks about it. When they first brought it to me, I thought it was b.s. I finally read about it, and I heard [Cavs star] Kevin Love talk about it in an article [and] I thought, ‘Wow, that’s something I deal with.’ I’m happy that I did it. I wish I would have done it sooner. But I’m 22 and still learning.”
Storyline: Mental Health
Despite that, Okafor showed enough in training camp and that first game to earn a spot on New Orleans’ final roster heading into the regular season. “While it is very important that he has transformed his body, the biggest measure of this turnaround will be if he can regain the confidence he once had when he first entered the league,” one NBA executive said. “That will define his role and dictate whether or not this is his final stop. And regaining that confident form is easier said than done. There is still a place for a guy who can score in the low post if he is capable of consistently running both ends of the floor.”
Okafor, who admitted that he was in a “dark place” and dealt with depression and anxiety in a recent interview with colleague Shams Charania, has prior relationships with Davis and Pelicans director of player personnel David Booth to help him adjust. Davis and Okafor both spent parts of their childhood in Chicago. Booth, who was an assistant coach for DePaul University in Chicago, offered Okafor his first scholarship in the eighth grade. “That’s the number one step for him – improving his body – and he took care of his body,” Davis said. “He still is, and you can see it affecting the way he played on the floor, so if he just continues to do what he’s been doing over the summer to get better, he’s going to be fine. He’s been doing great things for us in training camp and practices.”
“While it is very important that he has transformed his body, the biggest measure of this turnaround will be if he can regain the confidence he once had when he first entered the league,” one NBA executive said. “That will define his role and dictate whether or not this is his final stop. And regaining that confident form is easier said than done. There is still a place for a guy who can score in the low post if he is capable of consistently running both ends of the floor.”
After being traded to the Nets, the 6-foot-11 center was met with a revelation worth far more to his mind, spirit and body than any additional playing time could. Within days of the trade, he sat down with a Nets staff member whom Okafor says helped him realize he might have been dealing with two issues he had never even considered: depression and anxiety. “I didn’t know I was dealing with depression and anxiety myself,” Okafor told The Athletic. “When I was in Brooklyn after the Philly trade, I started to talk to somebody there. That was the first I heard about it. Then, during the season, I didn’t act on it. “I was in a dark place, man. I didn’t act on what was told to me, and I ignored it and shut it down.”