Alright y’all. The latest Slam Magazine piece has got me thinking about franchise centers and their seeming lack of effectiveness in today’s pros. Jahlil Okafor and Dakari Johnson are going to do their best to reverse the trend of effect centers becoming rare as a “needle in a haystack” according to Joe Henricksen. That needle, though, just might be Whitney Young center Okafor.
“He is so fundamentally sound, his footwork is off the charts, his hands are phenomenal for a kid his size and the thing he has going for him is work ethic and his character,” said the Chicago Sun-Times writer about Okafor. “You’re talking about an off-the-charts, elite character kid who gets it, who’s humble, who wants to be better. True difference-making 5 men have been lost; to find one is like a needle in a haystack nowadays.”
Johnson is entering his freshman season in Lexington, although if Johnson does not start this year it would not shock me to see him come back for a second round. Really believe Johnson is going to be a difference maker, mainly because of his size and work ethic which are both immense.
Okafor, on the other hand, brings a whole variety of skills together, and if the young man can improve his conditioning then we could be looking at one of the most complete big men in recent history. The evolution of the center position will be indicative of where basketball heads in the future, but there will never be any substitute for a quality big man clogging up the paint.