The Philadelphia 76ers enter the All-Star break in the same manner they ushered in 2016 -- with a string of losses damping any likelihood of a quick turnaround.
With Jahlil Okafor still on the hook as the franchise cornerstone, new 76ers executive Jerry Colangelo says he is concerned about the rookie center's mindset.
"What I've tried to do is encourage him and talk about what this is all about," Colangelo said in an interview Thursday with The Philadelphia Inquirer. "There's a lot at stake as it relates to a career and a future."
The Hall of Fame executive said he has met with Okafor three or four times since he joined the 76ers as chairman of basketball operations in late December.
"Encouragement is basically the bottom line," Colangelo said, "and saying, 'Look, everyone makes mistakes, and you have to learn from those mistakes on the floor and off. Just tune in.'"
Okafor was suspended for two games by the 76ers in late December after videos surfaced of the team's first-round draft pick out of Duke being involved in scuffles in Boston after a game against the Celtics.
On Tuesday night, the 76ers (8-45), despite being in control throughout the contest and holding a 12-point lead over the Sacramento Kings entering the fourth quarter, lost for the seventh time in their past 10 games with a 114-110 defeat.
Okafor enters the break on a good note after tying his career high with 26 points to go with 10 rebounds. He is scoring a team-high 17.1 points per game while averaging 7.4 rebounds.