Jahlil Okafor: Suspended for Two Games


After some off court incidents, Jahlil Okafor has a two game suspension. Can he rise above the 76ers’ environment?

Former Duke basketball player Jahlil Okafor has been suspended by the Philadelphia 76ers. The suspension is not related to his fine basketball play in the early season but rather several off the court incidents that Okafor has been involved in.

To date Okafor has been cited for reckless driving, an incident that led to someone pulling a gun on him, and a fight in Boston.

The Sixers are trying to send a message to Okafor now because they value him as a potential star player in the league. A two game suspension will bring Okafor back once he has time to relax. It will not hurt the 76ers since they barely won a single game with Okafor. The franchise seems honestly bent on throwing away another season for the sake of draft picks.

More from Old North Banter

So the 76ers deserve some blame for this too. They have surrounded Okafor with an environment that is not conducive to growth. The team does not win, which must be grating to a NCAA champion in his only year of college basketball.

The team also has no mentoring presence for Okafor on the roster. When Charles Barkley came into the league, he had Moses Malone to look to for guidance. Okafor does not have anyone like that. So his frustration is coming out off the court.

More from Duke Blue Devils

If Okafor had been taken number one instead of number three, he would have had Kevin Garnett to serve that role. Now the 76ers are investing in security for Okafor to solve the wrong end of the problem.

The best route forward for Okafor is the Kevin Love route. He needs to become a stats machine on a team that isn’t focused on winning anyway. He can play out his rookie deal and set his value somewhere near max money. If the 76ers haven’t compiled enough assets or finally traded those assets for talent, they won’t give him that contract. Or he could choose to walk away or be traded like Love finally was.

That path though requires a lot of work and maturity. Okafor’s is being tested right now. Let’s see if he can come back strong.