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Jahlil Okafor looks good and is going hard on both ends

Jahlil Okafor, Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans felt comfortable waiving Emeka Okafor because of how Jahlil Okafor performed this summer, according to Keith Smith of RealGM.

“He knows this might be last chance saloon time. He’s in amazing shape, and he’s going hard on both ends too. Seems like he really gets it now.”

Okafor signed a two-year deal with the Pelicans in the offseason. Just $50,000 of Okafor’s two-year contract with New Orleans is guaranteed. Okafor’s deal has a partial guarantee in the first year and a team option for year two.

Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015 with the No. 3 overall pick, Jahlil Okafor was traded to the Brooklyn Nets last season. The Chicago native appeared in 26 games with the Nets and averaged 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 56.6 percent from the field in roughly 13 minutes a game.

Okafor’s best season in the NBA came during his rookie year with the Sixers. He posted 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Okafor has always been a liability on the defensive end and shows no effort. Going hard on both ends of the floor during the summer is one thing, but we’ll have to wait and see if he shows that kind of effort during the regular season.

“I’m really excited to be a part of the New Orleans Pelicans organization,” Okafor said on Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J McCollum’s podcast. “You know AD, he’s a Chicago guy, so he’s somebody that I’ve always been able to watch and monitor because when I was a freshman, he was the No. 1 high school player in the country as a senior. I was able to do the same thing.

“Then he went to Kentucky, won a national championship. Then I went to Duke and copied him — did the same thing and won a national championship. He’s not too much older than me, but a role model in the sense of just the success he’s had and he’s always done everything the right way. I’m excited to be able to team up with him and be with him on a day-to-day basis.”

The Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins to the Golden State Warriors in free agency, so the team was in need of some frontcourt help. Okafor has always looked at Anthony Davis as a role model, and now he will finally be teammates with the superstar power forward.