Chicago Bulls: 5 free agents to replace Robin Lopez

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
4 of 6
Chicago Bulls, Jahlil Okafor
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Jahlil Okafor – Team Option

There was once a time where Jahlil Okafor was the next big thing in basketball, and Chicagoans were all about him. Okafor played his high school basketball in Chicago, at Whitney Young, and Bulls fans once dreamt of seeing him in red and black.

Okafor played his college ball at Duke, and ended up going third overall in the 2015 NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers. His rookie season, Okafor actually looked like he would pan out to be a strong player, averaging 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. His rookie season ended with a torn meniscus, and since then he hasn’t seemed like the same guy.

Okafor’s biggest knock has always been a lack of defense, or lack of intensity on that end of the floor.

Must Read. Bulls: Early look at free agency. light

Regardless of how he’s been viewed over the years, this past season should actually be considered a success. He played fairly well for the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging almost 16 minutes per game and giving his team 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest.

At just 23 years old, the potential is still there for Okafor to truly turn his career around. He may not be the phenom everyone thought he could be coming out of high school, but there is still plenty of time for Okafor to develop further. Chicago might just be that place of familiarity he needs, and on a rebuilding team where he’d have an opportunity to play.