Things were supposed to be different in the past two months for Jahlil Okafor and the Brooklyn Nets.
You remember all the reasons why he would turns things around with the Nets, don’t you? He was the #3 pick in the draft for a reason, right? He changed his diet this year, he’s a vegetarian now! He’s in great shape this year, but the 76ers weren’t giving him a chance to play! He just needed a change of scenery to become great again! It’s not his fault, the 76ers screwed with his head for a season and a half! The 76ers coaching staff didn’t help him become a better player, it was their fault, not his!
Except after 22 games with the Brooklyn Nets, maybe none of those were true at all? Maybe a coaching staff can’t help a lost cause who hasn’t evolved one aspect of his game in three years.
Maybe… just maybe… he’s not a good basketball player.
Maybe he’s simply a huge black hole when he’s on the court, sucking all intelligent basketball and smart decision making into his gravitational pull to be lost forever. Just a big blob of awful defense, turnovers, and the same three post-up moves you’ve seen since his days at Duke.
It’s insane to think that we live in a world where journeyman center Trevor Booker is a more polished and effective player than Okafor. Emeka Okafor has logged more starts in an NBA uniform THIS YEAR than Jahlil Okafor, and Emeka Okafor has only started one game.
You can find a lot of statistical evidence that proves just how ineffective Okafor has been for the Nets since his trade, but two particular stats after the jump are the most striking pieces of evidence for his on-court futility.
The Nets are on a 6-game losing streak. They’re -70 in Jahlil Okafor’s 77 minutes during this streak. They’re +10 in the minutes he’s not on the court.
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) February 13, 2018
For the season, the Nets have a -26.2 net rating with Okafor on the court. It’s -1.7 with him on the bench.
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) February 13, 2018
That is…. that’s just not good.
In Monday’s loss against the Clippers, Okafor played only 13 minutes but somehow ended up with a -18 plus/minus differential. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!
For comparison, in the entire season Joel Embiid has only had three games with a worse overall plus/minus showing; -23, -19, and -20 stinkers in losses against Cleveland, Toronto and Indiana. He averaged 30 minutes a game in those losses, compared with the 13 minutes Okafor played Monday.
You could potentially point to him playing with the Nets third team for his putrid plus/minus results, but before you do maybe take a look at this recent defensive effort against the Clippers:
Everyone needs to watch this. How the hell did NONE of the three referees call Jahlil Okafor for three-in-the-key here? He was in the paint for 12 seconds before getting near anyone. pic.twitter.com/fUCibTmk4a
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) February 13, 2018
Is that not a perfect microcosm of every single criticism of Okafor since his time in the NBA? He’s in the paint for nearly 12-seconds without covering a soul (and why he’s not whistled by the refs for a violation, as the original tweeter points out, is beyond me), basically wandering around as he watches the play unfold in front of him, doesn’t give initial help on the screen, backs way down into the paint before finally recognizing what is happening and weakly fouls the forward for an easy and-1 bucket.
No basketball IQ, no sense of anything unfolding around him, and a poor overall effort.
Well, at least the Nets fan haven’t started turning on him…
Jahlil Okafor isn’t just bad on defense, he literally looks like he’s just physically incapable and mentally unaware of how to defend any sort of movement.
— Charles LaRocca (@CLaRoccaJr) February 13, 2018
I, for one, am shocked to see Jahlil Okafor getting abused on defense again.
— Jon Toto (@JonSToto) February 13, 2018
Jahlil Okafor just doesnt get defense, even regular principles of defense. Like dont leave people wide open.
— Keyser Soze (@PabloDollas) February 3, 2018
Jahlil okafor: still not good at the defense
— Lealand Hage (@LealandHage) February 7, 2018
Anyone else wanna know why Jahlil Okafor gets no love? The man can’t play defense or jump https://t.co/bCXufhseAO
— Bryce Losty (@sendy_bryce) February 4, 2018
Jahlil Okafor for once comes in for help defense… and this happens. https://t.co/BitlQfff1f
— Dennis Chambers (@DennisChambers_) February 3, 2018
Steelers defense showing as much effort in this game as a jahlil okafor closeout
— Steven Day (@steve_swaggy_D) January 14, 2018
Jahlil Okafor still BBQ on defense
— LuAyton Bagter Jr (@REGGIES_WORLD) January 13, 2018
Jahlil Okafor has been exactly what we’ve come to expect. He’ll get you buckets on one end of the floor, but his defense … pic.twitter.com/p3gbZTUgf8
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) January 6, 2018
Jahlil Okafor playing defense like pic.twitter.com/V22j5cOx7x
— Ethan Zombek (@ezbeezy214) January 4, 2018
When Nets fans finally realize what Jahlil Okafor is pic.twitter.com/JgLQOfd0AW
— Super Paul Champion (@PaulB9585) February 14, 2018
How crazy is it that Emeka Okafor (35 yrs old) makes Jahlil Okafor (22 yrs old) looked washed https://t.co/J76XPnTLbF
— Nick Arguelles (@Nick_Argue) February 14, 2018
Enjoy him, Brooklyn. He’s all yours.