Jahlil Okafor Wise To Skip NBA Draft Combine


On Thursday evening the participants for the NBA Draft combine were announced and there were a couple of glaring omissions. Jahlil Okafor and Karl Anthony-Towns, the two players projected to go first and second overall, will not be in attendance. While many of the other top prospects will be there trying to raise their draft stock, Okafor has made a wise decision to opt out.

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On the surface it may seem as though Okafor’s decision to not attend the combine doesn’t make sense, but the more you look at it the decision is a fine one. Okafor is already considered a lock to be taken in the top three picks, so going to this combine will do nothing to help his stock and the only thing it can do is hurt it.

Coming out of high school Okafor was considered the top NBA prospect in the country, and in his one year at Duke he did nothing to lose that spot. As a freshman Okafor was a first team All-American, and the first freshman to ever win the ACC Player of the Year award. He regularly carried his team during a season in which the Blue Devils won the National Championship.

Some might argue that Okafor should attend because his performance in the NCAA Tournament was underwhelming, and while his performance, especially in the title game, wasn’t great, his play had already been consistently good enough that one bad game wouldn’t hurt his stock.

Okafor and his camp clearly believe that he is going to be the number one pick, as does Towns’. For that reason both players will be doing their own thing while other players look to improve their position for the draft. It would not be beneficial for either player to workout for these teams because at this point their stock is sky high, and at the combine only bad things could happen, like NBA scouts nitpicking small flaws.

In Okafor’s case the tape speaks for itself. He has an extremely polished offensive game with unbelievable footwork and above average ball handling skills for a big guy. Okafor’s defense also improved dramatically throughout the year. By the end of the season Okafor was the anchor of an elite defensive team, defending the paint tremendously.

Okafor clearly has the right people with him, saying that going to the combine is a lose-lose situation for him. Although Okafor won’t be in attendance at the combine there will be three former Blue Devils there. Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, and Quinn Cook will all be taking part in the combine which will be held in Chicago from May 12-17.