What is the plan for Brooklyn Nets’ Jahlil Okafor?


Brooklyn Nets forward Jahlil  Okafor has been through this before. Even with the team losing, his playing time has diminished. He’s finding it hard to get minutes in recent weeks.

For Jahlil Okafor, all he wants is a chance. After a productive rookie season with the Sixers, his playing time decreased year by year. He was traded to the Nets for Trevor Booker, and given the team’s front court depth, it was expected that he would get a chance to play.

For a while his conditioning needed to get up to par, which held him out. Then came the emergence of rookie Jarrett Allen, who is now starting at center.

On the season with Brooklyn, Okafor is averaging 6.2 points and three rebounds in just 13 minutes per game. He recently had a Did Not Play- Coaches decision, and Kenny Atkinson was asked about his plans for the big over the rest of the year.

"“We’re looking at all different rotations,” he said. “We had a stretch where he was in there. I think he’s played decently when he’s been in there. Unfortunately, he’s part of the group that we haven’t been playing well when he’s in, but that’s circumstances. His attitude has been great, his spirit has been great, his understanding of what we’re trying to do has been really good. He’s just got to hang in there and keep fighting for minutes.”"

It is true that he doesn’t fit the Nets system as well as other bigs, with his lack of a three point shot. The team also tends to give up chunks of points when he’s on the floor. But to Okafor’s credit, he’s staying prepared, waiting for his opportunity.

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With the season winding down, the Nets would benefit from seeing Okafor play a larger role. If anything it could show them what they need to see to attempt and re-sign him in the off season. He will be a restricted free agent, but the Nets will be limited in what they can offer him, since Philadelphia declined his fifth year option.

It appears that based on his performance, they might not have as much competition for his services as initially thought. Perhaps that is part of the plan in itself.

The fact remains that this team doesn’t benefit from tanking, and should play it’s most talented players in trying to improve every day. Okafor seems to fit that mold, and will hopefully see more time on the court as the season comes to a close.