Duke basketball: Jahlil Okafor does not get chance at title with Nets

Former Duke basketball center Jahlil Okafor (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Former Duke basketball center Jahlil Okafor (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Former Duke basketball champ Jahlil Okafor will not get the chance to win a title with the Nets.

As rocky as Jahlil Okafor‘s NBA career has been, it finally looked like things were going to turn around for the former Duke basketball champion until they didn’t.

After Okafor was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the deal surrounding DeAndre Jordan, the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft was looking to join an exclusive club of players.

There are only 32 players who have won both an NCAA Championship and NBA Championship, and by joining the NBA Finals favorites, Okafor was hoping that list would jump to 33 players by next summer.

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However, nearly a week after the trade that sent the Chicago, Illinois native back to Brooklyn, the franchise waived Okafor, which makes him an unrestricted free agent.

Jahlil Okafor began his NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers before joining the Nets midway through the 2017-18 season.

In his 26 games with the Nets, Okafor averaged 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

For his entire NBA career, the 6-foot-10 forward has posted 10.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest in 247 total games for four different teams.

Duke basketball star will have reduced role wherever he lands

If Jahlil Okafor had been an NBA player about 20 years ago, he would have been dominant and perhaps one of the best centers in the league.

However, given the transition of the NBA game and it moving away from the traditional center, Okafor will have to take a reduced role wherever he lands on the free-agent market.

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After averaging 30.0 and 22.7 minutes per game over his first two seasons, respectively, Okafor never averaged more than 16.0 minutes per game in his next four seasons.

The former Blue Devil does not have an expanded offensive role outside of the paint, and even going back to his college days, he is not the best defender due to his poor lateral quickness.

Perhaps Jahlil Okafor will look to latch on with an NBA Playoff contender as he has not made a postseason appearance in his professional career.

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