Okafor: “I Wasn’t Able to Focus on Basketball”
This is a big off-season for Jahlil Okafor and he knows it.
The oft-injured big-man has played in just 103 of a possible 164 games during his two seasons in Philadelphia, but he has made a conscience effort to make sure that doesn't happen again.
I think changing my diet has helped me tremendously," Okafor explained as a guest of the Sports Bash at the Sixers Summer Shore our in Wildwood Crest on Thursday.
Okafor had a very productive first season in the NBA, validated by his inclusion on the all-rookie first team, even though he missed 29 games with a knee injury. However, his second season was much more difficult - filled with trade rumors and the lingering knee injury that have people wondering that his future in Philly might be.
"I think last year there was a lot of different things going on off-the-court," Okafor admitted when discussing his struggles last season. "Not playing, not traveling with the team at one point - there was a lot of drama and I wasn't able to focus on basketball with all the trade rumors and not playing a couple games cause I might be traded."
"My rookie year I didn't have to focus on that, it was just me going out there and playing."
Okafor saw his scoring average drop from 17.5 to 11.8 points per game in year No. 2, but entering this season, he is flying under the radar, something that is new for him.
"Its different for me," Okafor acknowledged. "I've been under-the-radar, I haven't been on social media that much, I've just been working to get healthy - I want to make a huge impact this year."