Monday, October 4, 2010

Alumni Profile: Emeka Okafor

Looking Back: Emeka was traded from the struggling Bobcats to an up and coming Hornets team with an All-Star point guard in Chris Paul. Okafor never filled the shoes of Tyson Chandler who had a great friendship with Paul. Okafor didn’t have a bad year from his overall numbers, but he was expected to produce more with a more complete team around him and he didn’t. His team struggled throughout the season and dug a hole that they couldn’t climb out of and missed the playoffs.

The Good: Okafor is one of the most consistent of the UConn Alumni. He has remained relatively healthy other then some back issues that creep up and will give you double figures in rebounds and points every year. He is an all out effort player and a serious presence on the defensive end that can change the momentum of a game with a single swat. He has a serviceable post game and does a good job of not turning the ball over. There are plenty of flashier players at his position, but only a few do a better job of having a complete all around game that Okafor possesses.

The Bad: He is only 6-10 and 255 pounds which puts him at a disadvantage against bulkier centers and he isn’t as athletic as other power forwards, which puts him at a disadvantage at both positions. Since he does not have a jumper to rely on, it limits his game when he plays the power forward position. He also had his worst rebounding, blocks and field goal numbers of his career and needs to be much better.

Looking Ahead: Hopefully the drama of Chris Paul leaving is behind this team and they can settle on getting the chemistry right. Okafor needs to rebound, pun intended, from last season, and try to make a push for a playoff spot. New Orleans has a solid team and should be flirting with one of the bottom playoff positions and Okafor will be a key piece to their success.

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