Latest posts by Ashish Mathur (see all)
- Nuggets’ Thomas joins Hart to talk Celtics, Cavs - September 11, 2018
- Sources: Celtics’ Irving, Hayward ‘look impressive’ in pickup play - September 7, 2018
- Scott wants to patch things up with Kidd - September 7, 2018
Jahlil Okafor has always looked at Anthony Davis as a role model and now he will finally be teammates with the superstar power forward.
Okafor signed a two-year contract with the New Orleans Pelicans this summer and is excited to be in a winning environment. Both Okafor and Davis are from Chicago and had decorated high school careers in The Windy City.
The former No. 3 overall pick has completely changed his body this summer. Okafor has been training in Miami and has a new, noticeably toned physique. He talked about joining the Pelicans and his offseason regimen on Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J McCollum’s latest podcast.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the New Orleans Pelicans organization,” Okafor said. “You know AD, he’s a Chicago guy, so he’s somebody that I’ve always been able to watch and monitor because when I was a freshman, he was the No. 1 high school player in the country as a senior. I was able to do the same thing. Then he went to Kentucky, won a national championship. Then I went to Duke and copied him — did the same thing and won a national championship. He’s not too much older than me, but a role model in the sense of just the success he’s had and he’s always done everything the right way. I’m excited to be able to team up with him and be with him on a day-to-day basis.”
Just $50,000 of Okafor’s two-year contract with the Pelicans is guaranteed. Okafor’s deal has a partial guarantee in the first year and a team option for year two.
Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015, Okafor was traded to the Brooklyn Nets this past season. The big man appeared in 26 games with the Nets and averaged 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 56.6 percent from the field in roughly 13 minutes a game.
Okafor’s best season in the NBA came during his rookie year with the Sixers. He posted 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. The Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins to the Golden State Warriors in free agency, so were in need of some frontcourt help. New Orleans also signed former Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle.
“With the Pelicans in particular, I’m going to a team with aspirations of winning a championship, and the whole organization and atmosphere is all about winning,” Okafor said. “That’s not something I’ve been accustomed to since I’ve been in the NBA. It’s sort of been the opposite.
“I think I’ve taken the necessary steps this summer just to become a better defender, a better rebounder — just because I’m moving better and I’m doing all of the right stuff. I’m really excited about it.”