Lack of time on the Nets has contributed to Jahlil Okafor's benching

When Jahlil Okafor was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the to the Brooklyn Nets midway through the season, it seemed like he would receive a legitimate opportunity to once again prove himself as a viable NBA starter.

However, that hasn’t been the case.

In 25 games for the rebuilding Nets, he has averaged 6.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.4 minutes. Recently, he has completely fallen out of head coach Kenny Atkinson’s rotation and has only logged minutes in three of the last 18 games despite the team’s atrocious record.

Although there seems to be a clear incentive for Brooklyn to give the 22-year-old big man minutes with little risk involved, he still hasn’t found his way on the court and doesn’t look to be part of the future in Brooklyn.

Recently, Atkinson explained why Okafor hasn’t been able to earn minutes.

“He’s had a little window of opportunity. We haven’t given him a great opportunity, a great section of play where you say, ‘Man, here’s 30, 40 games.’ That’s part circumstances,” Atkinson said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “You’d have more information if he had a training camp and he had a longer time period, he’d be much more acclimated.”

Despite the fact that he didn’t go through the team’s offseason program, Okafor has been in Brooklyn for a few months. Since he’s been practicing with the team throughout that time, it’s odd that he hasn’t been able to find his way onto the court more often.

“I don’t really know what that means. I’ve been here for three or four months,” Okafor noted. “Saying a full offseason would help me, I’ve been with these guys for three or four months now, done everything they’ve asked of me. I’m not sure what they want. But everybody’s treated me really well.”

This summer, the former No. 3 overall pick will most likely hit unrestricted free agency with his NBA future in question. He was asked whether court time, money, playing style or an opportunity to win would be most important to him and he responded with the following remark.

“All that goes into it,” he explained. “But honestly I have no experience with this whatsoever, so I’m just trying to finish the season strong. [I’ll have] guidance from people who’ve dealt with what I’m going to deal with, and lean on them. I really don’t know what to expect. But, at the end of the day, I want to play basketball.”

Therefore, it appears as though Okafor, who averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game as a rookie for the Sixers, will already be in search for his third organization in the upcoming offseason.

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