The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t had a season to remember. They brought this upon themselves with a couple years of tanking, and rookie Jahlil Okafor has suffered as a result.
This had to be a difficult situation for the young player to deal with. He could’ve been learning under Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers or Carmelo Anthony with the New York Knicks, but instead Okafor has been subjected to playing with guys who would be lucky to make certain D-League rosters.
He’ll definitely get some votes for rookie of the year, but that award will likely go to Karl-Anthony Towns for completing a full season with stalwart statistics.
Okafor recently tore the meniscus in his right knee, and he won’t be returning to the lineup this season as a result. He’ll require surgery, and he won’t be ready to go again for quite a while.
“It will take six weeks before he’s able to get going practicing again and get back on the court, and so based on the timetable, that is correct that he’ll miss the rest of the season,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said to ESPN.
Okafor has been out of the rotation since Feb. 28 after colliding with Isaiah Canaan during a loss to the Orlando Magic. The initial injury was a shin contusion, and then he started missing games due to knee soreness.
Okafor won a championship in his lone season with the Duke Blue Devils, and he was recognized as one of the top players in the country during his high school career.
The 76ers will have another lottery pick join their team this summer, but unless it ends up being Ben Simmons, they’ll still be a pitiful squad next season. Okafor is probably secretly glad to be out for the rest of this year, because he has dealt with a lot of problems off the court. It must be hard to cope with all of this losing after a career full of victories, and Okafor should be more focused next season once the Sixers add some players through free agency. They have plenty of cap room thanks to all of their rookie contracts, and they will hopefully be easier to watch after that point. Okafor certainly would appreciate a better work environment, and he’ll be happy to move on from what has been a forgettable year.