Ever since the start of college basketball season regarding talks of who the No.1 pick in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft is projected to be and should be, the name Jahlil Okafor seems to constantly come up first and dominate the draft conversations. Every 2015 Mock Draft I come across has him going number 1. Duke's 6-foot-11 freshman center has been the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft not only since the season started, but he held that label when he was a senior in high school – before he even stepped on a college campus. That's how good draft experts and scouts believe young Okafor would be...and they have had every reason to believe that so far based on how well his freshman season is going.
Okafor on the year is averaging 18.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg, and shooting 65% from the field. He's the best player on a top five team (Duke is 19-3). He's not only the best big man in the country but he's the best low-post player in college basketball in a decade. He possesses good footwork around the basket, has advanced post moves that most big men in the NBA don't have, commands double-teams and reads them well, and is an adept passer out of the post. Okafor is what you call a traditional big man. A throwback, if I might add. His game will fit perfectly on the next level. Most of all, Okafor is the leading front-runner for Player of the Year. You might ask the question: What is there not to like?
Well, as impressive as Okafor has looked and knowing fully well that he should excel at the pro level, I'm not totally sold that he should be the runaway No. 1 pick. Not because Okafor doesn't protect the paint defensively like coaches want their center too. Not because he seems stiff at times and not agile enough. Not because I think he can be a more physically imposing presence in the low-post.
The kid has some flaws just like many prospects do coming out of college heading to the pros. I say that because there are four other dudes out there that have made a compelling case that they could possibly be the first pick in this year's draft. I'm talking about Kentucky's freshman center/power forward Karl Anthony-Towns, Arizona's freshman swingman Stanley Johnson, Ohio State's freshman guard D'Angelo Russell, and pro prospect point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.
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