Jahlil Okafor had one of his more complete games of the season Wednesday night against the Spurs, scoring 20 points and adding eight rebounds and two blocks. He played physically and actively on defense during some crucial moments, and he made his free throws.
It was the kind of game that should boost his trade value and also remind the Sixers why they drafted him third overall a year ago.
Okafor, who entered the night a 59 percent free throw shooter, went 10 for 11 from the line against San Antonio. The makes and attempts were both career highs, and they came just two nights after Okafor went 2 for 7 in Detroit.
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After the game, Brett Brown had some interesting thoughts on not just Okafor's free throw shooting but also his jump shooting in general.
"Look at his form. His form's not broken, and I actually think he is almost a more capable elbow player than we think he is out of the post," Brown said.
"Like, he's known because he's a really good post player and so on. I see him having the ability to make 18-foot jump shots. And I think that the free throw you saw tonight is a free throw that's not broken. His form is just fine. And tonight, you saw Jahlil Okafor in a pretty good way - making free throws, two blocks, ran the floor defensively. He was hard to guard."
Okafor hasn't yet shown a consistent ability to make midrange jumpers. This season, he's shot 65 percent on attempts less than five feet from the rim. The farther out he gets, the worse he gets.
From 5 to 14 feet, he's shot 39 percent.
From 15 to 19 feet - the range Brown described - Okafor's shot just 23 percent, going 6 for 26.
He'll need to improve upon that because you're not always going to get a good look at the rim. Okafor has some moves down low and excels at spinning and finishing, but that elbow jumper is the next step in his evolution as a player.
But in any event, the free throws Wednesday were encouraging. All too often this season we've seen Okafor take forever at the line and rattle the rim with a foul shot. He's left a lot of points out there.
Think about this, for example: Okafor has averaged 11.8 points this season, and if he was even a league-average free throw shooter in the same number of attempts, he'd be averaging 12.2 PPG. That kind of thing adds up.
"His free throw is certainly not one that is broken," Brown said. "Sometimes, like all players, you get it in your head and like the last game (2 for 7 in Detroit), he was just in a bad place evidently mentally. But it's certainly not his form."
It takes more than one game, and we'll see if Okafor can build on Wednesday's performance tonight in Orlando.