Recently, Jahlil Okafor was reported as saying that he doesn’t want to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves and may try to persuade the Timberwolves to look otherwise.
The reason for this is simple; he wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the second pick. Personally, I think the reported comments are a stupid idea and I personally can’t stand these comments.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what Jahlil Okafor brings to the table. He won me over during the NCAA Tournament, where he helped the Duke Blue Devils take home the trophy. He’s a gifted scorer and a prolific defender. Measuring at 6’11”, Okafor is one of the best centers we’ve seen come out of the NCAA in the recent years and can very well be the number one selection in July.
That’s where the comments come in. According to reports, Jahlil Okafor may not accept the chance of being drafted number one by the Timberwolves and would like to be selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second selection of the draft.
Jahlil Okafor has received a lot of heat from many people, including myself. As a prospect, you shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what team you go to. This isn’t free agency, this is the draft, where your fate is held by the teams picking and not you and your agent, and of course, that’s how it should stay.
We’ve seen this before. Back in the 2004 NFL Draft, Eli Manning, who was selected first overall, had publicly said that he would refuse to play for the San Diego Chargers. Regardless, the Chargers selected Manning just to ship him to the Giants for Phillip Rivers (who was selected by the Giants) and two draft picks. The possibility of the same thing happening here is there but we don’t know if it’ll happen.
Personally, I think this one comment will affect Okafor’s draft stock, even if just a little. In a draft class filled with talented players, one remark could hurt your draft stock. The Timberwolves, who lack talent throughout their rotation, could look at Karl Anthony-Towns (Kentucky), Emmanuel Mudiay (Congo) or De’Angelo Russell (Ohio State).
On the other side of the spectrum, the remark could help Okafor. As we look back to the Eli Manning situation, Manning was traded to the Giants, who he won two championships with. The Chargers, of course, still selected Manning and got a franchise QB in return with Phillip Rivers. Though I think this situation is such out of place it won’t occur.
The way this situation unfolds will be interesting. Okafor’s comments were out of line and not necessary and should hurt his draft stock.