With injuries plaguing the Washington Wizards throughout the majority of the season, there weren’t many players on the roster who contributed on a consistent basis. With that said, Emeka Okafor unexpectedly turned into the most consistent player on the Wizards roster this past season.
Okafor was always known as a center who could bring defensive stability on a not so great defensive team, so we all knew ‘Mek’ would contribute on that side of the floor. He didn’t play very much in New Orleans due to a knee injury, but unlike some of his key teammates, Okafor managed to stay healthy throughout the season. With John Wall and Nene missing a large chunk of games at the beginning of the year, Washington had no choice but to run the offense through Okafor in the post. It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t effective. In hindsight, I honestly wish the coaching staff would’ve urged Okafor to stop taking so many face up jump shots, especially since he has struggled scoring the ball throughout his basketball career. When John Wall, Nene and Bradley Beal were out, the team essentially had no choice but to run the offense through Okafor. I can’t blame him for his low percentages, since virtually every other productive player was hurt.
Above all, Okafor was a major key to Washington’s defensive success. Much like New York’s Tyson Chander, Emeka Okafor was never an elite level shot blocker. Although he does go through spurts where he does block some shots, Okafor utilized his size by altering shots in the paint, becoming the defensive anchor the Wizards were missing for quite some time. Okafor also took another page out of Tyson Chandler’s book, when he mastered the “tip back” into the backcourt in rebounding situations.
He’s probably not worth the $14 million dollars he’ll make this upcoming season, but he does bring stability to a team which certainly needs it. Okafor provided a lot more than just stability on the basketball floor. He’s a good character guy, who will undoubtedly help the younger players like Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely. Okafor isn’t the greatest NBA player ever, but he knows how to get the job done.