Jahlil Okafor | C | Duke
Before announcing the 76ers’ choice, Adam Silver took time to honor Harvey Pollack, the longtime statistician for Philadelphia’s basketball team. He was a true legend. “He will be missed,” Silver said.
Then, he made an announcement that was real shocker with the selection of Jahlil Okafor. In the past two drafts, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie has taken Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. But the shocking part isn’t that Okafor is a center; it’s that he’s healthy – and could actually play this season. But seriously, you have to wonder if another deal is in the works – or if Embiid’s health is more of a concern than the 76ers are leading on. Okafor is easily the most skilled low-post scorer in the draft, a true throwback to the days when you could toss it inside and let a man go to work. – Michael Lee
With the third pick, the Philadelphia 76ers ended the suspense and chose Jahlil Okafor, a center from Duke.
Okafor, 19, stands 6 feet 11 inches and weighs 270 pounds. He averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game in his lone season, leading the Blue Devils to an N.C.A.A. championship.
Considered the presumptive No. 1 pick for much of the year, Okafor began to slip on some draft boards leading up to tonight based on the potential of Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, who ended up overtaking him and going No. 1 to Minnesota. In what qualified as a surprise to many, he also ended up getting passed over in favor of Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. But Okafor, a polished big man who can dominate inside, is considered a good bet to contribute immediately.