GALLOWAY, N.J. – The days when Jahlil Okafor just let his game speak for itself are apparently over.
“I do want to be vocal,” the 76ers' second-year center said. “I think I can help my teammates out the most by doing that.
“This is our team. This is the players’ team and we all have to do our part to be a leader.”
No longer a rookie, the 6-foot-11, 265-pounder knows he has to do his part to be a leader. He’s already displaying that vocal leadership. Okafor had a sit-down conversation with Ben Simmons on Tuesday morning right before the start of training camp. Okafor told the first overall pick to be vocally ahead of where he was at this time last year as a rookie.
“As a rookie, nobody is really expecting you to talk and if you do, it’s pretty impressive,” Okafor said. “So I mentioned that to Ben, because at that time, I wasn’t talking at all.”
Okafor is getting back in the groove after having season-ending surgery on March 22 to repair the meniscus in his right knee. The injury cost the NBA all-rookie selection the final 23 games of the season. A CAT scan on March 8 revealed the tear.
The 20-year-old, who played in 53 games, was the team's leading scorer at 17.5 points per game last season. He became the first Sixers rookie since Allen Iverson in the 1996-97 season to lead the team in scoring over a minimum of 50 games. He also averaged 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 blocks and shot 50.8 percent from the field.
Follow and contact 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers on Instagram at PompeyOnSixers