#3 Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor

With the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the 76ers select Jahlil Okafor.

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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It didn’t take long for the draft to get interesting with the Los Angeles Lakers selecting D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick. With Russell off the board, the Philadelphia 76ers were left with a tough choice. Jahlil Okafor was the best prospect left on the board at No. 3, but the 76ers already have big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid on the roster. Nevertheless, general manager Sam Hinkie selected Okafor. But don’t expect the 76ers to hold an auction for Okafor, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who reports that Philadelphia plans on holding onto Okafor despite the logjam in the frontcourt.

Okafor is an old-school center with a polished low-post game. In his one and only season at Duke, Okafor averaged 17.3 points and 8.6 rebounds and helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2014-15 NCAA Championship. He has great size and strength and has the potential to become one of the best overall centers in the NBA moving forward.

However, there are concerns about Okafor’s defensive abilities. He is not an explosive athlete at this point, and struggles to guard opponents in pick and roll situations. He is not a great rim protector either, so how he develops on this end of the court will determine just how dominant he can become.

At this point is isn’t completely clear how Okafor will fit in with the 76ers. Their biggest need is in the backcourt, but with Russell going to the Lakers, the 76ers went big with Okafor. We still haven’t seen Embiid play in an NBA game, so it’s hard to say whether he can play with either Noel or Okafor at the same time. What may help this triad work together is the fact that Noel is an agile athlete and shot blocker that could potentially make up for Okafor’s deficiencies on the defensive end of the court.

The 76ers continue their aggressive rebuild under Hinkie. They now have a glut of prospects in frontcourt and a roster in need of a point guard. It will be interesting to see how the 76ers move forward from here.


Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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