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February 17, 2017

Jahlil Okafor

New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. What are your thoughts on possibly being traded to Chicago?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: I grew up in Chicago. It would be nice to play in my home city. I have no idea what's going to happen.

Q. Family kind of excited about the possibility?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: My family would love for me to be in the city. They know as well that everything is rumors, and we don't know what's going to happen.

Q. How is the transition to the NBA? I think people expect a lot from a top pick.
JAHLIL OKAFOR: It's a good position. I have a good coaching staff to help me transition. It's tough. It's tough. (No microphone.)

Q. What do you think is the hardest part about it? Is it the speed of the game or learning to deal with the travel?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: I think all of that adds up, the on-the-court stuff, during the game, playing at night and then the traveling, off-the-court distractions, it all adds up.

Q. From the time you came into the NBA, where has your biggest improvement been? What are you most proud of as far as any part of your game that you've improved on?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: I think transforming as a basketball player, finding out where I'm most effective and how to be a better player. We have a great coach on the Sixers.

Q. Defense has been, I guess, a challenge or whatever. How are you coming along in that, and how important is it to you to be not just a passable defensive player, but a good one?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: First part of the question?

Q. How important is it for you to be a good defensive player? How much are you working on that, and how important is that to your success?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: I want to be a good basketball player. I'm trying to improve every day. I'm still young, I'm 21. I'm doing my best. It's really important because I want to be a great player.

Q. What is the key to playing good defense in the NBA for a player at your position in particular? Where do you have to improve? Where do you have to get better?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: I think just learning. Just playing the game and you just learn different lingo, the speed of the game, knowing where to be. I think the biggest improvements I made are by watching film with the coaches, sitting down and they'll point out some plays and where I'm supposed to be.

Q. You have some experience playing against Frank Kaminsky over in Charlotte and obviously from the Duke-Wisconsin game. Can you talk about being on the court with Frank?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: I'm excited to play with Frank. We have a little bit of history, in the championship game and he's a Chicago guy. He's somebody that I grew up watching. When I was a freshman, he was a senior, but I remember watching and he meant a lot to the city of Chicago. We have a lot of history. I'm excited to see him.

Q. And you guys are rising, obviously, together at the same time. What does that mean for you two to be together?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: It's a lot of fun seeing all of my peers that we basically grew up with or played against each other.

Q. What are you looking forward to most this week?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: Freeing my mind, mostly enjoy myself, celebrate the game of basketball and to be part of the weekend.

Q. Do you still consider yourself a Chicago kid, you know what I'm saying? You've been out of town for a while now?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: I'm from Chicago. I am a Chicago guy. It's only been two years. In the offseason, I'm always there. So I'm definitely still a Chicago kid.

Q. You mentioned -- you beat Anthony Davis. You beat Frank Kaminsky. Who did you lose to?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: Jabari Parker. He beat me pretty much every time I played him.

Q. Any particular memory of those matchups with Jabari?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: Just the hype around the city. It's always the biggest game of the year. We always played in the state tournament. I think I only beat Jabari once my freshman year. Other than that, I'm 1-6 against him.

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