Okafor signed with New Orleans and was expected to compete for a spot in the rotation. After seeing limited playing him with the Sixers and Nets last season, he was hoping to carve out a role for himself on the Pelicans by working on his weaknesses.
“The knock on me has always been my defense and my rebounding,” Okafor said last month. “I let the coaches know that I’m aware of that, and obviously they’re aware of that. They know that I’m 150% bought into doing whatever it takes to win. I think I’ve taken the necessary steps this summer just to become a better defender, a better rebounder — just because I’m moving better and I’m doing all of the right stuff. I’m really excited about it.”
Okafor scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds in his 17 preseason minutes. The Pelicans conclude the preseason on October 11, so Okafor won’t likely make it back on the court to get additional reps before the team starts the regular season on October 17.