Emeka Okafor making 1st start in 3rd game since 2013
Since DeMarcus Cousins suffered a ruptured Achilles and forced to miss the remainder of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans have been finding the best combination for them to fill the void left by the All-Star center. They even recently signed veteran big man Emeka Okafor to see if he can help their cause. With him only playing his third game for them this Monday against the Detroit Pistons, head coach Alvin Gentry has already shown the ultimate trust in him though.
The 35-year-old Connecticut product started the game for the Pelicans and will play alongside E’Twaun Moore, Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis. The development was already confirmed by Gentry even before the game started, according to Sean Kelley of NBA on ESPN.
— Sean Kelley (@SeanKelleyLive) February 12, 2018
Okafor was the second overall pick back in 2004 won the Rookie of the Year Award. Despite the promise and skill set that he had, his NBA career was cut short following the 2012-13 season, as he had a herniated disc in his neck. After extensive rehab, he was finally healthy enough to play competitive basketball again in 2016 but failed to secure a contract with any team in the league until the Pelicans took a chance on him.
Now that he will have the opportunity to start his first game since 2013, it will definitely be a huge morale booster for Okafor, who never gave up on his NBA dream. He personifies the hard work and dedication needed to make a successful comeback at the highest level, and if he can play better than expected, it could lead to another 10-day contract for him, and even a guaranteed one for the remainder of the season.