Sixers 2015-16 Player Evaluation: Jahlil Okafor

Over the next few weeks, we'll evaluate the Sixers' roster after the 10-72 season.

Up next: Jahlil Okafor

Position: That was the question of the season, right?

Status: Under contract for 2016-17 for $4,788,840.

Signature game
Okafor recorded 11 double-doubles and had 23 games with 20 points or more this season. He scored a season-high 31 points (including 18 in the first quarter) against the Mavericks in Dallas on Feb. 21, but his most complete game resulted in a win earlier that month.

Okafor scored 22 points (9 for 16 from the floor, 4 for 4 from the line) and had 17 rebounds in the Sixers' Feb. 6 victory over the Nets. He pulled down a season-high in total boards and offensive rebounds (seven). Okafor finished a game-high plus-13.

Okafor in 2015-16
A major storyline of this season was how Okafor and Nerlens Noel, both natural centers, would share the court. For the first half of the season, head coach Brett Brown played Okafor at the five, citing Noel's speed and athleticism as a better fit for the four. At the All-Star Break, Brown decided to shift Okafor to power forward for the remainder of the season to utilize Noel at the basket for his rim protection. But the change in position was cut short when Okafor suffered a right knee contusion on Feb. 28. During his treatment, the Sixers found out he also had a slight tear in his right meniscus that required surgery. The timeline for his return sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

So here's the abridged on-the-court assessment: Okafor's rookie season started off strong with a 26-point, seven-rebound debut against the Celtics on the road. He appeared in 53 contests (48 starts) and averaged 17.5 points (50.8 percent from the floor), 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 30.0 minutes per game. Okafor led the Sixers in scoring and ranked second among all rookies. In his final five games of the season, he averaged 21.6 points and shot 64.4 percent from the field.

But there was more than just basketball to Okafor's first season in the NBA. Between October and November, Okafor was involved in several incidents, including getting pulled over for driving 108 mph on the Ben Franklin Bridge, having a gun pulled on him in Old City, and being involved in a physical altercation outside of a Boston nightclub that was caught on camera.

His rookie year will be remembered for his actions on and off the floor.

There is no question Okafor is an NBA talent. Where he will play on the court and where he will play in the NBA both remain to be seen. If the Sixers decide to keep both Okafor and Noel on the team next season, Okafor - as it stands now - will have to adjust to the power forward spot. He has said repeatedly that he has been playing basketball his whole life. Regardless, there are adjustments that he would have to make to change positions.

That's just looking at the current team with Okafor and Noel. If Joel Embiid or Dario Saric (or both) play next season, it is unlikely the Sixers can continue with the logjam in the frontcourt. Okafor was mentioned in trade talks this season and expect those talks to heat up again. He has too much potential and the Sixers have too many bigs for his name to be out of the rumor mill.

On Okafor
"I feel the injury to Jahlil never allowed us to fully assess how to best pair Nerlens and Jahlil. We started out the year feeling like Nerlens was the athlete amongst the two, and so Nerlens should be the one chasing four men around the perimeter and Jahlil should be back where Jahlil is probably best suited. Then after the All-Star break, we realized we've just took Nerlens, an elite shot blocker, an elite rim protector, out of his home plate. ... I think I know where they're both best suited, but I probably would more, we would have learned more, had you had more of a sample size." (see story) - Brown

"People were coming at me and making fun of us for losing. I know I'm in the spotlight and I know there are people are going to try to anger you. I did the dumb thing and reacted to it. I'll never handle it like that again." (see story) - Okafor

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