Okafor is likely to still have a limited role in New Orleans, as the Pelicans have drafted two frontcourt players in Zion Williamson and Jaxon Hayes in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery. New Orleans exercised its team option on Okafor for the 2019-20 season on Thursday due to his surprisingly productive tenure with the team last season. While that was reason for hope in terms of his potential playing time, the drafting of Hayes, an athletic center out of Texas, is cause to pump the brakes on that optimism. An Okafor and Williamson pairing provided spacing concerns from the start, and it now seems like Hayes will have the edge on Okafor out of the gate given the draft capital spent on him. Still, assuming Julius Randle does not re-sign, Okafor figures to see relatively healthy minutes providing depth in the frontcourt.
The Pelicans exercised Okafor's team option for the 2019-20 season Thursday, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com reports. Okafor was surprisingly productive during his tenure with the Pelicans last season and may have extended his NBA career as a result. At a cheap price, keeping Okafor was a no-brainer for New Orleans this season, and depending on what the team does this offseason, he could play a prominent role in the team's frontcourt this year.
Okafor collected 30 points (15-24 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 0-2 FT), seven rebounds, two steals, and one assist in 38 minutes during Tuesday's 112-103 loss to the Warriors. Okafor poured in a season high scoring total in the season finale. Given that he stepped up on numerous occasions over the course of the campaign, it's likely the Pelicans will opt to keep Okafor around next season, especially considering his modest contract.
Okafor compiled 23 points (10-14 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks across 35 minutes in the Pelicans' 133-129 win over the Kings on Sunday. Okafor drew the start with both Anthony Davis (back) and Julius Randle (rest) sitting out the contest. The 2015 third overall pick's double-double was his first since Feb. 4, and he's now scored in double digits in four of the last five games overall. Okafor has proven his worth as a part of the frontcourt rotation when given sufficient minutes this season, and he's gotten expanded opportunity more often since the trade deadline with Davis' minutes capped.
Okafor started at center and contributed 15 points (7-8 FG, 1-2 FT), four rebounds and one assist in 26 minutes Sunday in the Pelicans' 130-102 loss to the Lakers. Okafor was supremely efficient from the field during his time on the floor, but he failed to slow down his counterpart at center, JaVale McGee, who finished with 23 points and 16 boards in 33 minutes. Though Anthony Davis (back) remained sidelined for a third straight game and Julius Randle (finger) exited early, Okafor's deficiencies on the defensive end might make it difficult for him to hit the 30-minute mark if both injured players are sidelined Wednesday against the Hornets. Christian Wood looks like the best bet among the Pelicans' frontcourt options to deliver fantasy value during the team's three-game week.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||44||239||51.6||1||33.3||87||68.5||565||12.84||867|