Jahlil Okafor knows critics talk about his defense, free-throw shooting

Potential Lakers draft pick Jahlil Okafor addresses criticism of his defense and free throw shooting

His critics have pointed to the shortcomings in his game, saying Jahlil Okafor’s defense and free-throw shooting need a lot of work.

During his time at Duke, Okafor wasn’t known as a rim-protector, as a center who blocked shots despite his 6-11, 270-pound frame.

He averaged just 1.4 blocks per game at Duke, leaving many NBA scouts wondering what kind of defender Okafor will be in the league.

He addressed that Tuesday after his predraft workout for the Lakers.

"That is a criticism," Okafor said. "But we won a national championship at Duke so it wasn't that bad. Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski], he was fine with the way I played defense. But I'm getting better every day."

The Lakers, who have the second overall pick in the NBA draft, noticed Okafor’s lack of defense as well.

"I think if there is a part of his game that lags would be his defensive presence on the court," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said.

Okafor averaged 17.3 points per game on 66.4% shooting for Duke.

But his free-throw shooting was woeful.

He made just 51% of his free throws.

"That was obvious. I was missing free throws," Okafor said. "That's something I've also been working on. It's mostly mental. We lost a game to Notre Dame and that was because of my free-throw shooting and from there it went downhill. But I've been working the entire summer on it and I feel confident."

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
81°