Jahlil Okafor ‘unsure’ if he’s still part of the 76ers
The tale of Jahlil Okafor has been one with plenty of ups and downs throughout his first two years in the league. Hailed as one of the most offensively talented big man in the 2015 NBA Draft, Okafor was selected with the third overall pick — showing enough promise in his first year with the team, averaging 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game during his 53 games played that season.
Yet after a string of bad decisions, the once highly-touted center out of Duke is still trying to mend his image after getting caught on video fighting in the streets of Boston two years ago, then getting in another fight and speeding; allegedly trying to use a fake ID to escape the situation.
Couple that with his mishaps on defense on the court, and the 21-year-old found himself out of the Sixers’ rotation and could be very well out of a job by sometime this year.
“I’m unsure if I’m still on the team,” Okafor told Jordan Brenner of SB Nation. “Am I really a part of this process? Am I really a part of this culture? That’s why the guys have been out there on social media, but I’ve just kind of been in the dark. I’ll go to a Sixers event, smile, take pictures with the kids and stuff like that, but I’m still thinking, ‘am I a part of this team?’”
Jahlil Okafor has been trying to mend fences throughout the offseason, but still recalls that ugly Boston night in 2015, where his perception went from lovable loser to villain after he was caught on tape.
“We were almost about to win that game against the Celtics and it ended up getting away from us in the fourth quarter,” Okafor said of that night in Boston. “I remember just being upset because I thought we were about to get our first win. And I just decided I’m going to go out that night. I don’t remember a lot of it, because I was really intoxicated. And me being drunk, I wasn’t in my right state of mind. I remember being taunted — just random stuff I would hear all the time on the court. I just reacted differently.”
The Arkansas native can find himself in a tricky situation after the franchise has committed to Joel Embiid, signing him to a five-year, $146.5 million extension of his rookie-scale contract, endorsing him as the starting center of the future.
As the Sixers seem committed to grow with their young core of Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and Embiid; they have been trying to trade Okafor going as far back as the beginning of last season, making this a proposition that is likely to continue when 2017-18 tips off.