Prospect Watch: Jahlil Okafor

If I had to compare Jahlil Okafor to a super hero it would probably be “Kung Fu Panda“… Jahlil is a bit on the chubby side, however like the cartoon panda bear he can move as graceful as a ballerina.  Its just not everyday you see a 19 year old center have the offensive polish of a NBA veteran. Granted half court offenses are no longer en vouge in today’s 3-point shooting era, but Okafor’s skill flashes game changing ability that may alter public opinion on how basketball is currently played.  Al Jefferson and Tim Duncan come to mind when projecting a ceiling… And to be fair, Jahlil Okafor is far more advanced then they were when they were freshmen in college.

This is why many scouts are projecting him to develop into one of the best post players in since Hakeem Olujuwan….Tough shoes to fill being compared to a Hall Of Fame player, but “tough” is just another word for the Okafor family.

Trials and Tribulations: Check out the FoxSports exclusive on The Okafor Family Legacy…

One of the biggest knocks on Okafor is his perceived laziness. When looking at him play, often times you might not see the passion you come to expect from an NBA player. However not many NBA players saw their mother die right in front of them. Imagine being 9 years old playing a friendly game of 1-on-1 only to see your mother pass away holding a basketball. An event like that would play a profound impact on a child’s behavior. Passion is not the issue,  some players like Tim Duncan and to a lesser extent Lamarcus Aldridge might not have mercurial personality on the court but they still play at an ALL STAR level nonetheless. Look for Jahlil to mimic that standard when he enters the NBA.

Physical Tools: When you analyze his measurements he actually isnt the tallest center,standing at (only) 6’9″.  But what Jahlil may lack vertically he more than makes up for it with a ridiculous 7’5″ wingspan making him have all the feel of a legit 7 footer.

Wingspan may still be one of the most overlooked attributes of a players physical ability. Think of a guy like Tristan Thompson who is actually only 6’9″ on the court, but his long wingspan allows him to reek havoc on the boards, even against players who are taller than him. (obviously their is more to the art of rebounding like timing, tenacity, and the ability to box out….but wingspan definitely plays a factor in the equation.)

Weight: Jahlil’s weight is where my “Kung Fu Panda” comparison comes in. As a 19 year old rookie, Jahlil is already heavier than most NBA players. However his sheer mass is actually going to give him a real advantage when jocking for position on the low block. Tipping the scales at 270 pounds Oak is a huge human being…Reminds me a bit of Eddy Curry(during his *good years) who would just simply over power defenders with his back to the basket.


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