Okafor struggling since problems surfaced
Jahlil Okafor is in a funk.
Jahlil Okafor is in a funk.
The 76ers center was a dominant rookie-of-the-year candidate before his off-the-court problems started to become public Nov. 26.
Since then, the third overall pick out of Duke has made a combined 16 of 51 shots (31.3 percent) in games against the Rockets, Grizzlies, Lakers, and Spurs. He missed the matchups against the Knicks and Nuggets while serving a two-game suspension after a second video surfaced on TMZ.com of his fighting with a heckler on a Boston street in the early hours of Nov. 26.
"He's gone through a hell of a hard time," coach Brett Brown said. "I'm sure the hardest time of his life. To think that's not going to impact how you play in front of 18,000 people and go be on national TV again and go put yourself out there where you are scrutinized on your performance is quite naive, I think."
The 19-year-old has had a lot on his mind, dealing with the embarrassment from two altercations in Boston. He also had to deal with two October incidents' becoming public. In one, he had a gun pulled on him in Philadelphia, and in the other, he was stopped after going 108 m.p.h. across the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Dealing with an upper respiratory infection also hindered Okafor's performance Monday against San Antonio. He finished with 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
Okafor has seen his scoring average drop from 18.4 points a game to 16.9 since news of his altercations broke.
"I think it's fine," he said Wednesday of his play. "It's all part of the process. My first game back [against San Antonio] was two days ago [following the two-game suspension.]. I wouldn't call it a slump or anything like that."
Okafor pointed out that the Spurs, the NBA's top-ranked team in scoring defense (88.3 points), did a great job of defending the Sixers in the 119-68 loss.
Easing back. Point guards Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall won't play on back-to-back nights at least for the near future. Wroten is scheduled to play 16 minutes Thursday against the Nets at the Barclays Center. He will then miss Friday's matchup against the Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center. Marshall will sit out Thursday before playing 16 minutes in his Sixers debut Friday.
The Sixers want both players, who are coming off tears in their right anterior cruciate ligament, to ease back into action. Wroten has played in two games after being sidelined since January. Marshall has also been sidelined since January. The former Buck signed a free agent deal with the Sixers on Sept. 8.
Getting close. Carl Landry participated in his first full practice Wednesday. The Sixers acquired the power forward this past summer in a trade with the Sacramento Kings. He had surgery June 2 to repair torn ligaments in his right wrist. He's scheduled to make his Sixers debut in January, although there's a chance that he could return before the end of the year.
Embiid sighting. Joel Embiid did some side work at practice. Afterward, the 7-foot-2 injured center participated in a shooting drill with guard Hollis Thompson before working out on his own. Embiid, the third overall pick out of Kansas, has yet to play becase of season-ending surgeries on his right foot in each of the last two seasons.
League's role. ESPN's report that Jerry Colangelo's hiring as Sixers chairman of basketball operations was lobbied for by the league office after NBA owners complained about the direction and the economic shortcomings of the franchise was false, according to league sources. However, commissioner Adam Silver was involved in the Colangelo hiring.