Okafor generated 12 points (5-6 FG, 2-3 FT), eight rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes Thursday in the Pelicans' 131-122 win over the Thunder. The Okafor-Anthony Davis starting frontcourt pairing proved to be a disaster in Tuesday's 30-point loss to the Magic, prompting coach Alvin Gentry to move Okafor to the bench for this one. Though he was efficient while playing off the second unit, Okafor could be appointed back to the starting five coming out of the All-Star break after Davis was forced to exit Thursday with a shoulder contusion. The injury isn't believed to be significant but may be concerning enough to keep Davis out of this weekend's All-Star Game. If Davis ends up sitting out the exhibition, there's a good chance the Pelicans would hold him out of additional games, which would leave more center minutes available for Okafor and Julius Randle.
Okafor will come off the bench Thursday against Oklahoma City, Will Guillory of The Athletic reports. Okafor had started 10 of his team's previous 12 contests entering Thursday, averaging 17.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over that stretch. He'll move to a bench role against the Thunder, however, as the Pelicans have elected to give Julius Randle the start.
Okafor (ankle) played 29 minutes and produced eight points (4-9 FG), seven rebounds, two steals and one assist Tuesday in the Pelicans' 118-88 loss to the Magic. With Okafor returning from a two-game absence, coach Alvin Gentry made the surprising decision to deploy him in the starting five alongside Anthony Davis as part of a supersized frontcourt. The pairing didn't pay dividends, as the Pelicans fell behind by 22 points after one quarter and struggled coming out of halftime. There's a good chance that Okafor moves back to the bench in the team's final game before the All-Star break Thursday versus the Thunder, a development that would likely have a negative impact on his playing time.
Okafor will start at center next to Anthony Davis for Tuesday's matchup against the Magic, Andrew Lopez of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. In a somewhat unexpected move, coach Alvin Gentry will opt to start Okafor next to Davis, which seems less than ideal from a floor-spacing perspective. Regardless, this contest could be a barometer for Okafor's role moving forward.
Okafor (ankle) is no longer listed on the injury report for Tuesday's game against the Magic. It sounds like Okafor is on track to return Tuesday after missing the past two games due to an ankle sprain. With Anthony Davis and Julius Randle both back in the fold for the Pelicans, Okafor will likely return to a reserve role and could see his playing time take a hit moving forward.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||44||239||51.6||1||33.3||87||68.5||565||12.84||867|