Jahlil Okafor has the basketball pedigree that Hall of Famers are made of. A star at Duke under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, then the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft, Okafor was a can’t miss prospect going to a team that needed him: the woeful 76ers, who had a rebuilding plan so public it had a name: The Process. Okafor was supposed to be a big piece of The Process. But then a few things happened on his path to the Hall in Springfield. Okafor didn’t look dominant and exciting like a top 3 pick should, and since the 76ers were actually not supposed to be truly competitive, he couldn’t win. That’s what those Duke guys do and what Okafor did his whole life — win. Suddenly Okafor had lost more games as a Sixer than he’d lost in his entire life. (The first team All-American won an NCAA title in his only year at Duke.)
Two or three other things happened too. Their names are Joel Embiid (a true center as opposed to Okafor’s flexible center/forward stature), and back-to-back No. 1 picks Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. Add legit NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Dario Saric to the mix and it’s easy to forget that Okafor was — just for a minute — the main cog in The Process. But he’s still on the 76ers. And he can play. Okafor has played in just one of the Sixers’ first four games, but he scored 10 points in 22 minutes. He grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots. Keep an eye on Jahlil Okafor. A first team NBA All Rookie selection in 2015-16, Okafor can play in this league at a very high level. Will it be for the Sixers? Time will tell. But watch him. And watch fellow Duke alum J.J. Redick‘s presence on the 76ers to be important for Okafor’s progress.