Pistons to sign center Jahlil Okafor

©Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — The Detroit Pistons are expected to sign a second backup center from Duke in NBA free agency.

Minutes after reportedly agreeing to a deal with Mason Plumlee, general manager Troy Weaver’s next move was to add Jahlil Okafor.

It’s a two-year deal, ESPN reports.

Both Plumlee and Okafor played their college ball at Duke under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Okafor, who will be 25 at the start of the 2020-21 season, has significant pedigree as a longtime top recruit. He won the 2015 NCAA title with the Blue Devils and was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.

But his game hasn’t translated to the NBA, where the league has moved away from traditional post-up centers who also aren’t adept passers or defenders.

Okafor, 6-foot-10 and 270 pounds, has slimmed down in recent years in an effort to stay on the court defensively, and he can still score in bunches with an array of moves inside.

In 30 games (nine starts) last season with New Orleans, he collected 8.1 points on 62.3% shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 15.6 minutes per game.

In five NBA seasons across three teams, he holds career averages of 11 points and five rebounds, one assist and 0.9 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game over 220 games (114 starts). He shoots 53.8% from the field.

Okafor was the ACC Player of the Year and National Freshman of the Year in 2014-15, averaging 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 38 games for the national champions.


©2020 Detroit Free Press