Pelicans to sign former #2 overall draft pick Emeka Okafor for the rest of the season
After nearly five years away from the NBA, his play has earned him a job for the remainder of the season.
What's the story?
William Guillory of the Times-Picayune of New Orleans is reporting that the Pelicans have offered a contract to former #2 overall draft pick Emeka Okafor for the remainder of the season.
In case you didn't know...
There was a reason why Okafor was taken second over in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. Okafor played his college basketball for the University of Connecticut where he won several awards in 2004, including the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player during their championship run.
The heart of the matter
New Orleans signed Okafor to a 10-day contract on February 3rd, and during that span he played in six games, starting four, averaging 3.7 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game in 16.2 minutes per game.
The most impressive stat for Okafor during this stretch is his shot blocking ability, considering he was out of the league for a few years, as he is currently averaging 2.0 blocks per game.
The 35-year old big man was out of the league for almost five years with a neck injury before joining the Pelicans on the 10-day contract.
In nearly 600 career games played, Okafor is averaging 12.2 points per game, 9.9 rebounds per game, and 1.7 blocks per game.
The Pelicans (33-26) take a 5-game winning streak home to New Orleans on Monday night as they take on the Phoenix Suns (18-43).
It's unfortunate that Okafor's career never hit the gear that it should have for his talent due to injury, but it's great to see him back in the league after a lengthy layoff.
With the loss of DeMarcus Cousins for the year, there needs to be a presence down low for the Pelicans, and if Okafor can continue to get seven rebounds and two blocks per game, it'll definitely help them down the stretch.