clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jahlil Okafor Speaks For The First Time As A Sixer

Jahlil addresses the media for the first time as a member of the Sixers.

Elsa/Getty Images

The selection of Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft came as a surprise to most inside the Barclays Center, except for maybe Okafor himself.

"I wasn't shocked," Okafor told reporters. "I knew I was going to be going to the NBA tonight. I was going to be a top-five pick, no matter what happened."

Rumors were swirling prior to the draft that the Philadelphia 76ers had interest in point guard D'Angelo Russell and power forward Kristaps Porzingis, but with Russell off the board, general manager Sam Hinkie opted for the best player available.

"I'm excited," he said. "I ran into Jerami Grant as I was walking back here. He said, 'I'll see you tomorrow.' Joel Embiid texed me last night and said, 'See you in Philly.' He kind of jinxed me."

The connections to Grant and Embiid will help ease Okafor's transition to Philadelphia, but it does create a lot of problems fit wise for the Sixers. With Embiid, Okafor, and Nerlens Noel, they now have three players who play predominantly in the low post.

When asked about how all three big men can play together, Okafor bluntly responded, "I don't know, it's not my job to figure out. I'll just go there and work as hard as I can.

While Okafor insists that the low block is his "bread and butter", he made it clear that's not all there is to his game.

"I shoot all kinds of shots. I don't just stay on the block and just do lay-ups and dunk when I'm in the gym by myself," he said. "I shoot a lot of bank shots, a lot of shots around the perimeter."

The 19-year-old mentioned that one player he modeled his game after is San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan, a solid mid-range shooter during his heyday. Okafor has a lot of work to do to try and improve that aspect of his game, but Philadelphia's coaching staff has proven it has little trouble developing a player's shot.

Regardless of popular opinion, Philadelphia has added another talented player in its front court arsenal. Whether or not all can all co-exist will depend on their collective growth on both ends of the floor.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liberty Ballers Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Philadelphia 76ers news from Liberty Ballers