NBA Draft 2020 will see a whole host of exciting prospects, but Onyeka Okongwu may be a sleeper pick. The center is expected to go in the top-10, with a high ceiling based on what we have seen so far. However, can Okongwu fulfill this potential in the cutthroat modern NBA that has moved away from being the land of the giants to being the land of the guards?
The Athletic have given their pre-draft projection of Okongwu, calling him elite defensively but questioning his size as a modern center.
“I don’t understand why more people aren’t talking about him. Elite defensively. Can move his feet, blocks shots. A little undersized at the five, but he’s big and strong enough. The concern is at the other end. Can he develop a 15-foot jump shot? He shoots it well from the foul line, so that’s encouraging. His interview was off the charts. He shot 72 percent from the foul line, which is encouraging. I could see him extending his range.
“He’s not a prototypical rim protector, but he’s quick enough to make up for that and block shots. If USC had a point guard, they would have been one of the best teams in the country because of him.”
NBA Draft 2020: Onyeka Okongwu lives up to the billing?
Defensive specialists heading out of the draft do take a while to adjust to the flow of the game. Along with that, Okongwu will have to overcome a size difference in his position. But if P.J. Tucker and Draymond Green can be effective centers at their heights, Okongwu should have no problem.
He has the physicality and athleticism of a top-caliber center with a tremendous eye for the game. He has shown the potential to develop a shot, which shows that Okongwu may just become a very prolific small-ball center. Along with that, he has the mobility to play at the four, but he will have to refine his offensive talents to be productive against players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis.
Okongwu has a bright future in the NBA, and it seems everyone is projecting a strong work ethic from the young center. Hopefully, he prospers like projected.
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