What Is The Deal Between Charlotte And Wiseman?

As soon as the Hornets were awarded with the 3rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, a lot of talks started around the top projected prospects. There’s been a lot of back and forth between James Wiseman and even though he has his knocks he is a really polarizing young player. Let’s try to understand what Charlotte should do if he is available when they are on the clock.

The player:

James Wiseman is known for his impressive build as he is a 240 lbs 7′ 1” Big with a 7′ 4” wingspan. His frame stands out and is already at an NBA size at just 19 years of age. Unfortunately, too many times he is not able to exploit his physical advantages. The past season he played only three games at the University of Memphis because of trouble with the NCAA. This increased the uncertainty around his evaluation and hurt his draft stock. During this little stretch and in his high school years he displayed a good amount of issues both on defense and offense.

Defensively he has problems at reading the opposite offense and finding the right position. This is underlined when he needs to defend in space or during PnR situations.

The next clip is perfect to understand his problems. The opposite team targets him with various cross screens and he gets lost instead of switching and comunicating with his teammates. The reslut is an open three.

If you add these problems to his lack of lateral mobility the result is a bad defender in the league, especially with the direction the NBA is taking with centers on the defensive side of the court. Penny Hardaway tried to force Wiseman out of the drop coverage in the few games for Memphis but the result wasn’t great. In the next clip you can see that he was demanded to hedge during Pick and Rolls: his footwork is a mess and he is not able to move properly in order to execute the plan.

His inability to understand difensive angles will give him a ton of problems even in basic PnR situations. Too many times his positioning is worrisome and this aspect is going to be exposed at the pro level. Here you have a clear example:

Drafting Wiseman would force his team into the drop coverage, at least for his first years in the league. Optimism about him executing others defensive schemes is really low basing on what we have seen in his short basketball career. Going for this type of defensive organization would allow Wiseman to use his frame in a proper way as he could just sits near the basket and exploit his presence.

A lot of NBA teams go for drop coverage as it is way easier to execute by the centers in the league, but as the playoffs are going on stage right now we are seeing that it gets less effective moving torwards the final games of the season where the level is higher. Using your highest pick in recent history in something that would probably not be effective at the playoff level is not smart at all.

The frame really helps Wiseman during rim protection, but even with this fundamental he showed some issues. Too many times he is not disciplined and very jumpy on fakes as he gets beaten by way less athletic player. Instead of always chasing the big block he should try to stay vertical in order to be much more effective while protecting the rim, some examples of his impatience in the next video:

Offensively he is still very raw. His vertical spacing and rim running will obviously be there from day one in the league but for everything else the path is rough.

During high school he was playing with the ball in his hands a lot and this didn’t help his developement as a good rim runner. In the few games at Memphis he had his role changed and we saw some of his potential as a roll man during PnR. His technique as a screen setter is still raw, but again the frame really helps. Being able to play this type of game will be the key for him in the league offensively because it could open him different possibilities: rolling to the basket, being in position for offensive rebounds and maybe play some pick and pop game.

Penny Hardaway was aware of this aspect and designed different scenarios in order to help him setting easy screens that would allow him to roll to the basket without any problem. The clips display how he is not the most natural screen setter but as soon as he hits the defender the lane is open:

This still raw ability lead us to one of his biggest weaknesses on the offensive side: physicality.

As i said earlier Wiseman’s high school play style hurt a bit his developement and this is clear while watching him exploiting his physical advantage. Too many times he just doesn’t recognize the possibilities his body gives him and goes for a much more difficult style of play. Look at how he run away from some easy mismatches in order to shoot difficult fadeaways:

However this constant search for finesse plays has underlined some sort of touch potential in order to expand his range. During HS he showed some ability to shoot from the three point line, this wasn’t the same for his shortened college career but it is not impossible to see him expanding his range in that direction. His shooting form is okay, however he still needs to work on overall touch.

One of his best offensive trait is open lane speed. This aspect is too often cofused with overall quickness and mobility but Wiseman is just good at running in a straight line, whole different story for lateral mobility as we saw in the defensive part. His body is again the key here, his strides will allow him to follow transition and to play a fast paced game even in the NBA:

What will Mitch Kupchak do?

With the uncertainity around the first picks in this year draft and the problems we saw around this player, it will be possible to find Wiseman still available when the Hornets are on the clock with the 3rd pick.

As soon as Charlotte got the 3rd pick in the lottery, Kupchak did not lose time to clarify what will be the position of the team:

Kupchak stated that the Hornets are not in the stage to draft by position and will choose the best player available when they will be on the clock. The argument of “long time need for a Center” seems to not be in play for our General Manager but possibilities still exist. Let’s try to understand the motivation behind a possible selection of James Wiseman.

First of all Wiseman has a good media reputation as he was the #1 recruit for ESPN in 2019, he has been on the radar of scouts and draft analyst for a long time. Add this to his impressive body structure and you understand why he is always in the top of the most famous mock drafts. You really don’t see that many player physically gifted as he is , that’s why General Managers will feel a little nervous when they are on the clock and he is still available.

This whole upside cloud around him clashes with the film description we had in the first part of the article. Kupchak and his staff should really stay with their feet on the ground and follow what they saw during these years instead of chasing dreams about his potential outcome.

Another element that could tempt Kupchak at selecting him is that Charlotte Hornets best player PJ Washington is one of the best power forwards to pair with Wiseman considering teams at the top of the draft (Besides Draymond Green). PJ’s ability to read and react on the defensive side of the floor could really help Wiseman with rotation, even in hard drop coverage situations. On offense, we saw our number #25 showing great passing ability especially on dump offs to the other bigs. Wiseman on his side, could solidify the issues PJ has in rebounding and rim protection.

Lastly, picking Wiseman would ensure the Center position for quite a long time. Despite the great difficulties we described in the first part, he could be an average player in the league for like 10 to 15 years, even with hitting his medium outcome.


If you’ve been following, I am clearly against using our 3rd pick on James Wiseman. Drafting a Center with defensive and physicality issues that high is not the best use of your franchises highest pick in quite some time. Charlotte is in desperate need of a game changer, a star that can carry the team on his shoulder and Wiseman is not that type of player even if he has a little probability to reach a high ceiling. Kupchak seems to be on the same page as he’s stated a good amount of times that Charlotte is going to select the BPA when they will be on the clock, and I don’t think that guy will be Wisemen.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Precious Achiuwa

I’ve seen a lot of people buzzing about Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Let’s dive into his strengths and weaknesses and see if he actually makes sense in the lottery for the Hornets.

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis, F/C, 6’9, 225, 7-2.5 wingspan


After watching the tape, I’m much more intrigued by Achiuwa’s defensive potential but I think it is still important to dive in to what he can do on the offensive end. This past year with Memphis, he was very productive and averaged 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds a game and was the AAC’s player and rookie of the year. However, there’s only a couple of offensive skills that I’m interested in for his projection to the NBA: his offensive rebounding, shooting ability, and ability to attack closeouts.

At Memphis, Precious was a very effective offensive rebounder, grabbing three a game (11.4 ORB %). With his good timing and jumping ability, Precious was able to create extra possessions for his team. This has value and is one of the avenues that Achiuwa can provide a positive impact on the offensive end.

The big question with Achiuwa though and what will ultimately decide whether he can be positive on the offensive end is if he is able to shoot from distance. His college numbers provide a mixed bag as he shot 32.5% from 3 this past year on a little over one attempt a game. This is decent enough for a big who is growing as a shooter but his FT numbers are abysmal (59.9% on about six attempts a game). FT% has often been a good indicator for players that can shoot in the NBA so that leads to some caution but it isn’t the end all be all. Achiuwa’s form isn’t bad:

I’m not a shot doctor but I think with some tweaking he is a good bet to be able to shoot corner 3s at least and maybe some above the break. If he can become capable at above the break 3s, he can provide value as a pick and pop big. But again, I think he can serve as a spacer at the corners and with his quick first step, he should be able to attack closeouts:

Against 4s and 5s, Precious should be able to utilize his quick first step to get good angles to the basket and finish. If he’s able to shoot and be a threat, that’ll only make it easier for him as a driver and he can provide value as a catch and shoot or catch and go guy in the offensive end.

Other than that, I don’t see any other avenues for offensive value for Achiuwa. I’ve seen comps for him as Bam Adebayo or Pascal Siakam and I just don’t see it. I don’t see the passing ability/decision-making ability of a Bam or the ability to self-create like Siakam.

You just don’t want Precious making decisions on the court in my opinion. He only averaged one assist compared to almost three turnovers a game. He just isn’t a good decision maker:

I don’t see him being good as a short roll guy at all. He just doesn’t have good vision. In addition, his shot IQ is low and he doesn’t show a good ability to self-create:

He’s not the type of guy to create on his own (21.2% on two point jumpers this year):

This isn’t to hate on Precious. He can still make a positive impact on the floor. It’s okay to not be Pascal Siakam or Bam Adebayo. If Precious can fix his shot and shoot 35-37% from three on a decent enough volume he will be fine on the offensive end.


This is where the intrigue comes from for Precious. He’s a versatile defender who should be able to switch between the 4 and the 5. I think he’s a 4 in the NBA and don’t think he can anchor a whole defense but he should be able to play the 5 for stretches which gives him more value than if he was just a straight 4 or 5.

I’m really interested in Achiuwa’s weak side rim protection at the 4 position. He shows pretty good awareness and is able to utilize his length to get blocks and steals:

Precious is able to cover a lot of ground on the defensive end and his wingspan allows him to get his hand on balls that others may not be able to. This is just an awesome play here:

In addition to his rim protection ability, Achiuwa has shown some capability to be a good switch defender:

Achiuwa can be vulnerable sometimes as he gets shook here:

So I wouldn’t call him a Bam level switch defender but I think he’s definitely more than capable to switch and should be pretty good in that area.

With his versatility as a rim protector and a switch guy, I think Precious can be capably play both the 4 and 5 positions and should be a high level defender.

The majority of Achiuwa’s value in the NBA will come from his defensive versatility and I think he can really help a team on that end as he learns and gets more polish as a defender. How good he can be as an overall player in my opinion is if he shoots it. If he can, he provide value as a spacer and from attacking closeouts. I see him as a theoretical 3 and D big that would be amazing to have as a third big and probably should be able to be a starter.

I think the Hornets are picking too high though for a guy like Achiuwa. He is a first rounder in my opinion but not really a lottery level talent. And that’s totally fine. I think he will be a impactful player but I’d rather take a chance on a higher upside guy or get a guy that plays a more premium position.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Scouting Top Big Ten Bigs

This week I’m diving more into some second round players and specifically, looking at some of the top bigs in the Big 10 this past year.

Jalen Smith, Maryland, C, 6-10, 225, 7-1.5 wingspan

Jalen Smith projects as a rim-protecting, sharp shooting big man. He has two of the most important tools that you look for in a modern big. The most intriguing skill for him is his shooting though. He has the chance to get it up with volume and shoot it in versatile ways.

With Maryland this past year, he shot 36.8% from 3 on 2.8 attempts a game. He was in the 75th percentile as a spot up shooter, 78th percentile on unguarded catch & shoot jumpers in the half court, and the 76th percentile in jumpers in the half court in general. He’s a really good shooter for a big.

Here’s Smith off-movement:

Smith as a trailer:

And Smith with a smooth pull-up:

As you can see, not only is Smith a good shooter, he can shoot in a variety of ways. Having him at your five will open up the floor tremendously.

Smith has also shown some capability of attacking closeouts which adds to his shooting value:

And a sweet post-move here:

Out of the three bigs, I think Jalen Smith has the highest offensive upside in the NBA as a scorer. I’m really intrigued into how he develops. He’s not much of a passer (6.1 AST%) but he should be a really good play finisher as a pick and pop guy and has shown some roll ability as well (90th percentile in rolls to the basket).

I’m not enamored with Smith’s rim protection otherwise I’d have him as a lottery level guy but I think he will be solid enough. Had a 8.2 BLK% this past year which was the best of all of the three bigs. He needs to get stronger to be a better defender but he has decent enough IQ to know where to be. He should be around an average center defender and that mixed with his shooting potential should put him into consideration at 32.

Xavier Tillman, Michigan State, C, 6’8, 245, 7-1 wingspan

Tillman has the highest basketball IQ out of the three bigs and has the most diverse skill set. His most intriguing offensive skill is his passing (three assists per game, 18.1 AST%):

Tillman should be a really good short roll big in the NBA. He makes really good reads and is able to handle it just enough to get to where he needs to go. He also has shown some ability to score out of it:

Tillman’s best fit on offense is with a long range bomber like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, and to a lesser extent a guy like Devonte’ Graham. Those players get trapped a lot and Tillman can take advantage in the four on three situations that come from the gravity of them. Don’t really buy Tillman as a shooter ( 26% from three, 66.7% from the line, 32.4% on two point jumpers) but his passing and good decision-making should add value in the NBA.

Tillman is the most versatile defender out of the three. Don’t buy him as a switch guy as a whole but has shown some ability:

Tillman is also probably the best post defender in the draft:

And Tillman does well in the P&R:

Overall, Tillman is a really good defender and I think would be a plus on that end. It just comes to how much of a plus. He lacks some of the athletic ability and length that deters NBA caliber athletes at the next level. Bigs who have bigger size will be able to just score over him. However, Tillman would be excellent as a third big and could be a low end starter for certain teams because of his decision-making on both ends.

Daniel Oturu, Minnesota, C, 6’10, 240, 7’3 wingspan

Oturu has the physical tools to play center. Big and strong and has the longest wingspan out of the three. However, I’m worried about his feel and how his play style fits into the modern game.

Oturu was super productive at Minnesota averaging 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks a game. His physical tools should lead him to be able to block shots (7.1 BLK%) but I am worried if he’ll contest enough shots. While watching him I noticed a lot of shots where he doesn’t contest at all but is right there:

Out of the three, I’m the lowest on his defensive potential so I think he’d be more of a third big than a starter. As a third big though, he may be able to carve out a role as a scoring big. He is the most talented iso scorer out of the three:

Oturu is going to be productive in the NBA but I just worry about his overall impact. He’s not going to be Embiid or Jokic in the post so he’s not going to get that many touches however he should be able to be an efficient shooter.

But I don’t see the versatility of his jumper in the ways that I see it in Jalen Smith. I don’t think Oturu will get up enough attempts for it to matter. He mostly only shot wide open ones at Minnesota and only took 1.7 attempts a game.

Oturu has had flashes. This is a good sequence here for him:

Overall though, I see him more as a scoring big that doesn’t bring that much value on the defensive end.

I’d rank the bigs as:

1. Jalen Smith 2. Xavier Tillman 3. Daniel Oturu

Smith and Tillman are very close and Oturu is a distant third. Oturu has the worst defensive IQ out of the three and doesn’t have an easily translatable offensive skill like Smith’s shooting and Tillman’s passing. Tillman to me is the safest of the bunch because of his high IQ but I’d go with Smith because of his higher scoring upside. Also, because he’s taller than Tillman, I buy him more as a rim protector.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Devin Vassell

Devin Vassell is the premiere 3 and D wing in the draft. The Hornets desperately need two-way players so Vassell fills a need. He has a little bit of upside as well. Let’s dive in.

Devin Vassell, Florida State, G/F, 6’7, 194


Based on me saying that Vassell is the premiere 3 and D prospect, you can guess what Vassell’s best offensive skill is. Vassell shot 41.5% from 3 this year on about 3.5 attempts a game. Based on how the shot looks, he should’ve got more attempts but Florida State runs an equal opportunity offense. Contested or not contested, Vassell is a sniper:

At 6’7 with a 6’9-6’10 wingspan, Vassell has the extension to get shots up over defenders. In the NBA, where defenders are a lot faster, having a shooter who can get shots up over good closeouts is very valuable.

Vassell has shown some off-movement shooting too:

There’s potential for Vassell to grow as a off movement shooter and with his length, I think it can really be weaponized in the league.

As far as self-creation goes, there have been mixed results. Vassell doesn’t really have the burst to get by defenders. His handle isn’t that great either:

I’m pretty sure even with improvement that Vassell won’t really be that good of a rim attacker in the NBA. With his shooting and defense, it isn’t too much of a big deal. In addition, there is a case to be made that he has some upside as a shot-maker off the dribble. He’s made some fluid pull-ups:

Because of his size, Vassell is able to rise up over defenders and not be bothered by contests. This could potentially make him more impactful than the typical 3 and D wing because you won’t be able to hide a small guard on him. He may be able to take advantage:

Vassell has even flashed some step back ability:

The goal with Vassell would be to bring him on slowly and just let him focus on shooting spot 3s and defending in the beginning. As the years go on, the team selecting him should help him to work on his handle so that he can weaponize his size as a shot-maker. Different players (this isn’t a comp I promise) but the team selecting Vassell should develop him like how the Boston Celtics did with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Vassell will never be Jayson Tatum but Brown could be a potentially higher end outcome for Vassell. Obviously not the same players, as Jaylen Brown is a better athlete, but Vassell could be in the same vein as a 3 and D wing that has shot-making capabilities.

James Borrego values three point shooting a lot and Devin Vassell would fit right in as a spacer. If he can tap into some of that shot-making upside, it’d be great as the Hornets only have Devonte’ Graham as a shot-maker right now.


Vassell is definitely a top five defender in this draft and has a case as the best one. He projects to be able to guard 1-4. He provides value as a point of attack defender, iso defender, and help defender.

His length is very disruptive guarding one on one:

He’s able to deny the post because of his length and strength:

He can use his length to block shots on closeouts:

His best trait is his team defense. His IQ is amazing and he truly blows plays up:

Vassell should be a really good defender right away in the league. He’ll be able to be good in any scheme and make plays happen. This past year he averaged 1.4 steals a game and a block a game (2.8 STL% & 4.1 BLK%). The Hornets need that too. They added PJ Washington and Cody Martin in last year’s draft and a Vassell pick would continue the run of good defenders for them.

With his three point shooting and defense, Devin Vassell is already a lottery level prospect in my eyes. The fact that there is potential for him as a shot-maker adds to his intrigue and moves up my board. The Hornets need to continue to add two-way players to build a good foundation on both ends of the floor. Vassell would be a great choice to add.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Tyrese Haliburton

The Hornets are currently the eighth worst team by the NBA standings so it’s likely that they’ll be picking somewhere around there. Today, I’ll be diving into Tyrese Haliburton, a player who’s skill set would fit well with any team and could possibly be around when the Hornets pick.

Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State, G, 6’5, 175


When watching Haliburton, the thing that stands out the most is his passing. He has really good vision and with his size can get passes to places that others can’t. This past year, Haliburton had a 35% assist percentage at Iowa State. He’s a pass first type of guy:

Haliburton is a terrific P&R passer. Here, he makes sure to manipulate the big to get his guy and open basket.

More P&R craft from Hali:

The last clip shows Haliburton’s great basketball IQ. He’s able to manipulate the tag man to get the open look for his guy.

Haliburton’s also able to make the essential cross court pass for P&R operators in the league:

I don’t expect Haliburton to be a primary initiator in the league as he isn’t the rim attacker or P&R deep shooting threat that others are but as a secondary option, his passing and high basketball IQ should shine as a connector in the half-court as well as running secondary P&Rs.

Additionally as a secondary option, Haliburton should be a really good shooter off the catch:

Those shots are pretty deep, showing that he has NBA range. As a freshman, Hali shot 43.4% from three on about three attempts a game. As a sophomore and with a lot more difficult attempts, Hali shot 41.9% from three on almost six attempts a game. I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume he’ll shoot and shoot well.

Haliburton has showcased some shot-creation behind the arc and in the midrange as well:

The knock on Haliburton is that he doesn’t showcase the necessary burst at times to truly unlock his passing. Here, Hali can’t really shake the big:

Also, Hali might be a bit too passive at times:

If you’re projecting Haliburton as a ball dominant #1 option, I can see what the issue would be. However, if Haliburton is used in a lesser role, these concerns are very much mitigated. In addition, Haliburton does showcase some able to get by guys and rim attack:

Again, I don’t think Haliburton has the burst to just get by everyone in the league. However, he has enough to be able to attack close outs well and score with the occasional pick and roll. He is by no means a liability in that regard.

With Haliburton’s three point rate (.667 as a freshman, .508 as a sophomore) and passing feel, I think he’d be a great fit with the Charlotte Hornets. Coach Borrego encourages guys to launch from deep and wants the ball to keep moving. Haliburton will be able to do both and do it well in the league.


As a defender, Haliburton shines more off ball than on ball. He’s not a clear liability on ball but he could be a bit better:

However, his IQ on the offensive end directly translates to his off ball defense as he is pretty awesome as a help defender:

His length is functional and impactful as well:

No one is going to confuse Haliburton with being a defensive stopper but overall his impact on the defensive end is a clear positive. His instincts are great (3.8 STL% and 2.0 BLK %) and he is always on his toes looking to make an impact on the play.

After drafting two smart defenders in PJ Washington and Cody Martin, Haliburton would fit right in as another good help defender. With some of the low defensive IQ players that the Hornets have, bringing in Haliburton would help to cover up for some mistakes.

At the end of the day, Tyrese Haliburton is a smart and good basketball player. I don’t think he’s going to be a star caliber player but for where the Hornets are picking, they probably won’t have the chance to get a player with that upside. Teams always need smart and good basketball players and the Hornets are desperately in need of some. Haliburton would be a worthy addition to the young core of Charlotte and would help them to build a great foundation if/when the Hornets are able to get a player with star potential.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Onyeka Okongwu

It’s not up for debate, Onyeka Okongwu is the best center prospect in this years class. He possesses the skills necessary to be an effective 5 not only during the regular season but during the playoffs as well. Let’s dive into why he is good and how he’ll translate with the Hornets.

Onyeka Okongwu, USC, C, 6’9, 240 pounds


During the college season, Okongwu was a very effective offensive player. He was able to average over 16 points a game on 61.6% shooting. On offense, his four main play types were post-ups, putbacks, cuts, and as the P&R roll man. I’ll talk about the most important three (imo) for his NBA protection.


While at USC, Okongwu posted up for 102 possessions and was able to score 1.127 points per possession which was in the 94th percentile in the country. That’s pretty significant and on good volume as well. Okongwu isn’t going to be the next Embiid but his success as a post-up threat in college leads me to believe that he’ll be able to punish mismatches in the league.

USC ran this little rub screen every game to get Okongwu an advantageous post-up and he usually delivered:

Fronting didn’t work to stop Okongwu either. He finishes through contact here:

These plays aren’t overly complicated and it isn’t like Okongwu has this advanced footwork but it is another weapon in his arsenal. We’ve seen in the league the past years that some P&R bigs aren’t able to post-up mismatches which makes it easier for teams to just switch the action. With Okongwu, I think it is a good bet to make that he’ll be able to punish those mismatches with his strength and touch.

The Hornets often posted Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges in mismatch situations so Okongwu would fit right in.


Onyeka is a strong guy and was pretty dominant as an offensive rebounder this year. He had an offensive rebounding percentage of 12.4% (3.3 offensive rebounds a game) and was effective with finishing them off as he scored 1.37 points per possession on putbacks which ranked in the 90th percentile. Watch him toss around his opponent here:

The Hornets were third in the league in offensive rebounding but only 11th in second chance points. Okongwu would help here as he is such a good play finisher.

P&R Man:

This will be Okongwu’s bread & butter in the NBA. He’s in that Clint Capela & Jarrett Allen mold. With Devonte’s wizardry as a passer, Okongwu will thrive as a diver in the P&R. While at USC, Okongwu was in the 78 percentile as a roll man.

Okongwu is a terrific vertical athlete and can catch in traffic as well:

Give him some space on the catch and he’ll make you pay too:

Not only does Okongwu score for himself in P&R but he has really great gravity as a roller that will help his teammates get open looks:

The Hornets have some pretty good shooters and with Okongwu in the mix, it’ll only help them to get better looks.

Okongwu has some passing feel as well. He’s no Jokic but he can find the open man:

This is probably my favorite pass from Okongwu. Such a good find:

Don’t ask Okongwu to dribble too much outside of one or two dribbles but he has such a great set of skills. He’s not going to be a star level offensive player as a big (there are only a few) but the skills that he brings to the table are very intriguing. He brings Capela’s roll gravity with actual passing feel and potential to post mismatches. Okongwu isn’t going to shoot but that doesn’t matter as much to me because he’s so good as a roll guy and offensive rebounder. You want him more around the rim anyways. Additionally, with a floor spacing 4 like PJ Washington, the fit is like a glove.


I love Okongwu’s collection of offensive skills but the defensive end is where he truly shines. Okongwu was 10th in the NCAA in defensive box plus/minus. His rim protection is his best trait (9.8% block percentage) but he can fit into a variety of schemes. Watch him hedge and recover:

Okongwu hedges out to impede the defender’s progress but has the movement skills to get back to his own man for block.

Again, Okongwu stops the defender and recovers and just swallows up his man for the block.

Okongwu can guard in drop coverage as well:

Stays between both the ball-handler and the roller and disrupts the lob easily.

Okongwu has shown some switch potential too. Here he guards TCU guard Desmond Bane:

Here he rejects Arizona guard Nico Mannion:

The shot blocking is Okongwu’s best trait though:

Okongwu ran the full court to get this block:

I mean look at this versatility. Stonewalls the post-up and stays with Oregon guard Payton Pritchard on the switch to get the block:

Okongwu can be legitimately terrifying on the defensive end. His weakest point as a defender probably is his post defense but it’s not like he’s bad at it, he’s just too small to guard guys like Jokic, KAT, or Embiid. Being that most bigs are unable to guard those guys I don’t see it as too big of a problem. Additional , with bigs it is a lot easier to deny them the ball in the playoffs especially. You can always get a bench big that is huge that can take those assignments at times.

Okongwu is easily the best defensive big prospect and it fills a huge need for the Hornets. The Hornets need a lot (lol) but defense was a huge problem last year (25th in defensive rating) and Okongwu would help them set an identity. With guys like PJ Washington and Cody Martin improving, adding in Okongwu would give the Hornets a really good defensive foundation.

Onyeka Okongwu is a prospect with few concerning weaknesses and fills a big need for the Hornets. Cody Zeller is a good defensive big but he just doesn’t bring the versatility that Okongwu can bring to the table. On offense, Okongwu brings that lob gravity that the Hornets haven’t really had which will open the floor for the shooters. Te’/Okongwu pick & roll with Miles, Terry Rozier, and PJ spotting is a really solid offensive foundation. All three of those guys can attack close outs when the ball is kicked out and have enough passing feel to make the next pass. Te’ can find all open guys and Okongwu can finish and find the open man as well.

We’re projected around the 7-10 pick and depending on how the board shakes out Okongwu will probably be one of the best options at the spot. While the Hornets will lack that offensive centerpiece, the Hornets will put themselves in a good position to have a great foundation for the future. Get lucky in the 2021 lottery and the Hornets could be looking at a pretty quick turnaround.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Kira Lewis Jr

Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. is one of my favorite prospects in this years draft class. His shooting, length, and speed give him legit upside. He’s a bit of an interesting fit for the Hornets and they probably will be picking too high for him but I think he could possibly be one of the steals of the draft. Let’s dive into why.

Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama, G, 6’3, 165 pounds


Kira has two key skills that drive his offensive potential. First, it’s his speed. Kira is a terror in transition and in the half court and gets to the paint any time he wants.

Kira skies for the board (he’s a really good rebounding guard, around five boards a game) and is off to the races. He blazes by everyone and dishes to his teammate who gets fouled.

Not the best defense from Georgia but you can just see how much faster Kira is compared to everyone else. Kira would instantly improves his teams transition offense. Per synergy, he ranks in the 79th percentile. His combination of speed and length is terrifying in the open floor. Speed kills.

Kira’s speed is not only functional in transition but also in the half court. He can get by anyone:

Kira goes to work here. He gets Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans off of him with the double screens and dusts the big and finishes with a beautiful length extension.

This is probably my favorite Kira sequence of the season. Here he cooks Isaac Okoro (who might be the best perimeter defender in the country) and finishes at the rim.

It’s just easy for Kira. Gets into the paint, euro steps around the defender, bucket.

This is a valuable skill. Rim pressure is extremely important in the NBA. Kira’s ability to collapse defenses will give his teammates great looks. With the better spacing that the NBA provides, Kira should thrive.

The other thing with Kira is that he isn’t just a guy who can only get to the rim. Kira is a shooter as well. He has the outlines of a pretty special scoring prospect:

The shooting will translate. This year, he shot around 37% from 3 on about five attempts a game. His shooting has some versatility too. He’s best as a spot-up shooter as you can see in the above tweet but he has an off the bounce game as well:

Kira isn’t a Dame or Steph level shooter but he’s not the type of guy that you can go under the screen either. He can make defenses pay and that mixed with his speed gives him the potential to be a pretty good scorer in the NBA.

This guy is sure fire top pick right? Unfortunately with Kira, there are a couple things that hold him back on the offensive end and could be problematic in the NBA.

First, it’s his decision-making. Kira isn’t a bad passer. He’s actually shown a lot of flashes that makes you think he could potentially turn into a good one:

However, Kira’s vision isn’t great. He misses passes in P&R and other times just completely turns it over. Here, Kira has the roll man wide open on this P&R but fails to make the pass.

In these plays, Kira just makes the wrong passing decision in general:

You get the point. It reflects in the numbers as well. Kira averages 3.5 turnovers a game and has a TOV% of 17.6. Not great. There is some optimism for Kira as a passer though. Kira is a young guy. This was his sophomore season at Alabama but he was only 18 years old. He’ll be 19 when he starts his first NBA season. There’s a lot of time for him to grow improve. Additionally, those flashes show me that there is potential for him to be a good passer. I’m willing to bet on that.

Kira’s second problem is his finishing. Kira isn’t a great finisher in the half court despite his ability to get there with ease. A lot of this has to do with his strength. Kira’s only around 165 pounds. Because of his lack of strength, Kira has an aversion to contact. He stops just short a lot of time instead of going all the way into the defender:

This can really limit his upside. Again though, Kira is only 18 and can grow a lot especially with an NBA strength and conditioning program.

Kira has a lot to like as an on ball creator in the NBA. He has the speed and quickness. He has the shooting. He just needs to improve the decision-making. Because of his athletic tools, the threshold he has to meet isn’t as high as others who don’t have the same tools as him. Because of his speed and quickness, the windows for passing for him will be a lot wider and allow a higher margin for error. I really buy Kira as an offensive creator. He does come with his weaknesses but in my opinion, those are weaknesses that can legit be improved.


Kira doesn’t project as just some one-way player either. He has some translatable skills that can make him impactful as an on-ball defender in the NBA. He moves very well laterally and stays in front of guys:

His real talent is his defensive play-making though. On and off ball, Kira just makes shit happen:

Kira is really good at trailing opposing offensive players in P&R and deterring them from behind. He’s able to get blocks this way sometimes which leads to his terrific transition game.

Off-ball, Kira is able to do some similar stuff with his physical tools:

Kira uses his long arms and anticipation skills to get the steal in both clips. He is able to utilize this a lot too. He averages 1.8 steals per game and has a steal percentage of 2.5%.

The downfalls to Kira’s defensive game again relates to his strength. Some players are able to power through him because of his lack of strength and he won’t be able to switch onto bigger defenders. However, this is something that can be improved upon again with an NBA’s strength and conditioning program.

Kira Lewis Jr. has a lot of skills that I buy for a point guard in the NBA. He’s a good shooter. He can get to the paint at will. He moves well laterally and has defensive playmaking chops. With added strength, his weaknesses can be lessened and he can become a special scorer. I buy his upside because the things that hold him back are fixable. This isn’t some prospect that needs a miracle to happen to hit. Improved strength and decision-making is attainable especially for a player that is so young. If he can hit the necessary thresholds for that, he can be a special player.

Kira shouldn’t be one of the main targets for the Hornets as there will probably be better targets on the board when we pick but his fit with the hornets would be interesting. He’d give Charlotte the rim attacker that we don’t have right now and him and Miles Bridges would be really fun in transition. Additionally, he can add some defensive play-making that we really don’t have at the guard position right now. I doubt we will but if we ended up with him, I wouldn’t be upset.

Kira is one of the most fun players in the class. His shot-making and speed can make him a really good initiator in the league with improved playmaking. If his decision-making improves, he could be the steal of the draft.

NBA Mock Draft 1.0

The All-Star break is in full-force, and NBA teams are focused on what changes they need to make in order to build a run over the final months of the regular season. However, for the bottom of the league, the remainder of this season has become about giving younger players more playing time.

Here is my first mock of this draft cycle. 

Note: I use Tankathon to simulate the draft order, hence why Minnesota is at the top of the list.

  1. Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards, Guard, Georgia

Anthony Edwards is a unique scorer with incredible contact balance. Adding him to a core that features D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns is extremely promising. Bringing in Edwards also frees Minnesota from the possibility of paying Malik Beasley over $10M per year as a pending free agent, although they still may elect to bring him back as a sixth man.

  1. Warriors – James Wiseman, Big, Memphis

As much as I do not like James Wiseman being selected this high, the Warriors are likely to take a center with a team that consists of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. The Warriors also could trade this pick in combination with Andrew Wiggins to get another All-Star caliber player on an already loaded roster. Win-win for Golden State.

  1. Hawks – Tyrese Maxey, Guard, Kentucky

While Maxey may not be a ‘star-power’ type pick, he brings much-needed defense to a backcourt that features Trae Young. Maxey also has an incredible work ethic and should be ready to start for an NBA team right away. Young/Maxey/Hunter/Collins/Capela is… something.

  1. Hornets – LaMelo Ball, Guard, USA

The Charlotte Hornets brought in Terry Rozier this past off-season. Devonte’ Graham has also exploded this season. However, Ball is a 6-foot-8 point guard that has incredible vision and world-beating shooting upside. Graham is able to play off-ball and Rozier seemingly could either be moved or come off of the bench. Either way, talent over everything.

  1. Cavaliers – Deni Avdija, Forward, Israel

With Garland and Porter Jr. being the backcourt of the future for the Cavaliers (along with Drummond coming in via trade), Cleveland needs starting-caliber players at both forward spots. Avdija could be a secondary or tertiary playmaker along with being able to spot-up from anywhere outside the three-point line.

  1. Knicks – Onyeka Okongwu, Big, Southern California

The Knicks have drafted ball-dominant players with their past two picks. As an RJ Barrett truther, I fully believe he could be an All-Star when surrounded with high-quality role players. Okongwu brings an irreplaceable skill set similar to that of Bam Adebayo. He is extremely mobile, can guard any frontcourt players, and has shooting upside. Okongwu is a plus player on both sides of the court that could help unlock part of the existing New York core.

  1. Pistons – Cole Anthony, Guard, North Carolina

Cole Anthony is a score-first guard that could jump-start a Pistons rebuild. He is the best shooter in this draft class and has uncanny rebounding ability for a guard. Shooting + athleticism is typically a good combination for a draft prospect and to be able to get someone that has both traits in the mid-lottery is an absolute win for the Pistons.

  1. Bulls – Isaac Okoro, Forward, Auburn

The Bulls, despite their many flaws, have drafted pretty well in recent years. They have a great tandem in Markkanen and Carter and should be able to hit on either Coby White or Tomas Satoransky as their future point guard. Okoro gives them a long-term option at the three that can do everything. Okoro can be a secondary playmaker, incredible on-ball defender, and step back and knock down shots as well. The Bulls have a dynamic offense already and adding another supporting role player and extremely talented defender cannot hurt.

  1. Wizards – Tyrese Haliburton, Guard, Iowa State

Haliburton is an interesting player. He’s arguably the best facilitator in this draft class as well as a lengthy guard on defense as well. Even if John Wall is back, Haliburton could find some minutes as either a sixth man or possibly even find himself in the starting lineup if John Wall is traded. Regardless, the Wizards have another long-term guard. 

  1. Kings – Devin Vassell, Wing, Florida State

Vassell is one of the best 3&D prospects in this draft. He could easily become a top role player in the NBA due to his physical attributes and lights-out shooting. The Kings may be losing Bogdan Bogdanovic and have recently benched Buddy Hield. I could very well see them adding another wing like Vassell.

  1. Suns – Killian Hayes, Guard, France

Ricky Rubio is not the long-term answer for the Suns. While he has been a sufficient starting point guard, Hayes could be a big upgrade. Despite being a similar archetype, Hayes is a drastically better shooter than Rubio already (39% from three and 91% from the FT line).

  1. Pelicans – RJ Hampton, Guard, USA

The Pelicans have a lot of talent at so many different positions, so it’s difficult to slot players to them. But the Pelicans do need more youth and shooting in the backcourt. Hampton struggled in his short stint in New Zealand, but the talent and upside are clearly there. Griffin has the trust of the Pelicans franchise as well as the respect from the rest of the league.

  1. Spurs – Paul Reed, Forward, DePaul

The Spurs are typically a very predictable team when it comes to drafting. I know most would slot Theo Maledon here but San Antonio has both Dejonte Murray and Derrick White at the point guard spot. Paul Reed is an offensive-minded forward that has All-Defense team potential. 

  1. Trail Blazers – Jaden McDaniels, Forward, Washington

The Trail Blazers always select the players with the highest upside. McDaniels is clearly that at this stage in the draft. Adding a potential starting forward with shooting upside in the late lottery could pay off, but McDaniels as a whole does have a lot of bust potential.

  1. Magic – Theo Maledon, Guard, France
  2. Timberwolves – Nico Mannion, Guard, Arizona
  3. Celtics – Kira Lewis, Guard, Alabama
  4. Bucks – Joel Ayayi, Guard, Gonzaga
  5. Mavericks – Obi Toppin, Forward, Dayton
  6. Thunder – Isaiah Stewart, Big, Washington
  7. Nets – Josh Green, Wing, Arizona
  8. Nuggets – Tre Jones, Guard, Duke
  9. Heat – Saddiq Bey, Forward, Villanova
  10. Jazz – Patrick Williams, Forward, Florida State
  11. Knicks – Jalen Smith, Forward, Maryland
  12. Thunder – Cassius Stanley, Wing, Duke
  13. Celtics – Xavier Tillman, Big, Michigan State
  14. Raptors – Ashton Hagans, Guard, Kentucky
  15. Lakers – Jahm’ius Ramsey, Guard, Texas Tech
  16. Trendon Watford, Forward, LSU

2020 Draft Preview: Cole Anthony

I’m a UNC fan so I’ve seen quite of bit of Cole Anthony. I’ll try to take out as much of my bias as possible. Being that the Hornets are tumbling down the standings (currently the 7th worst record in the league), it’s time to start to look forward at who we want to add to our core. Cole Anthony is one of those guys near the top of the board and I’m actually very intrigued by him and wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Hornets uniform. Let’s dive into why.

Cole Anthony, G, 6’3, 190, UNC


Cole’s role in the NBA will definitely be as a primary initiator. He can improve in the ball-handling department but he has a good, tight handle and a lot of moves in his bag. He doesn’t have the most explosive first step but he has a solid one and that mixed with his ball-handling ability allows him to get to the basket. Cole’s most important skill is his shooting though. Ironically enough, it hasn’t been pretty. Currently, he’s shooting 35.4% from the field, 31.6% from the 3 (7 attempts a game), and 73.7% from the line. The numbers are bad but there is a lot of context for this.

Cole’s situation at UNC isn’t the most optimal environment. First, Roy Williams, UNC’s coach, has long always played two bigs in the lineup. Cole often shares the court with UNC’s best bigs, Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks, and neither are shooting threats. In addition to that, the other players that Cole shares the court with aren’t shooters as well. Only one other player other than Cole, Brandon Robinson, is a shooting threat, and he’s currently out due to injury. So, Cole at this point in time shares the floor with four other guys that can’t shoot.

*Anthony Harris never played in a game that Cole did*

Those numbers from three are just horrible. Cole constantly faces looks like this:

*Pictures from the Stepien’s Spencer Pearlman scouting report which goes way more in depth than I can.*

This is an extremely bad environment to be in and would hurt even the best scorer’s percentages. Cole isn’t as bad of a shooter as the numbers suggest. The numbers aren’t all on the environment though. Cole does have a problem with shot selection. He takes a lot of contested pull-ups and drives into multiple defenders. His situation is poor but there are lot of shots that he just shouldn’t take. Cole is a pretty special shooter though when his decision-making is good:

Cole has beyond NBA range and has the step-back in his bag. His shot-making is what makes him intriguing. He’s in the Damian Lillard mold in that his shooting gravity should be able to open easier lanes for teammates. His shooting opens up a lot for his own passing as he’s not an elite one a la Trae Young or Luka Doncic. He is a solid passer though and if he can shoot with volume and efficiency, his lack of elite passing won’t hold him back:

These are some really good reads from Cole. My favorite is the last one and is the type of flash play that you hope becomes more routine for him. He clearly is a smart player and good passer.

Even still, Cole’s decision-making has been pretty rough as whole this year. As stated earlier, he takes a lot of contested jumpers when he should probably make the extra pass. In addition, he does a lot of dribbling too much. With UNC having no other real creator, he gets doubled a lot and pressured and he tries to dribble through it all:

Cole has a tendency to dribble way too much. Some of it could stem from that he realizes he is the only creator on the team but either way, he just has to be better in those situations. In the last clip, UNC is up by 9 with a little less than two minutes left to go. The smart move would be to dribble it out and let that clock go down. However, Cole goes way too quickly and misses the shot.

The good thing is that there has been growth in his decision-making. His game against Duke was probably one of his best of the year. He made the correct reads majority of the time and took good shots. He also knew when to take over. He didn’t play a perfect game by any means but his growth from the beginning of the season is good to see and bodes well for his future in the NBA. However, he followed that up with 5-19 shooting and seven turnover game against Wake Forest. He’s obviously not there yet in terms of decision-making and it’s the big swing skill for him. If he can become a solid decision-maker, he has all-star upside. If he can’t, he won’t be much more than an average starter. It’s something to monitor.

Ultimately, Cole profiles on offense as a scoring PG. He has flashed the ability to score at all three levels and does a really good job of getting to the line (around seven attempts a game). With good decison-making, he can be a legit engine of a good offense.


Cole shines as a team defender which makes me a lot more optimistic of him as a decision-maker. He does make mistakes occasionally:

But overall, he’s been a damn good team defender:

Cole has shown the ability to be in the right place at the right time and collect charges. In the last clip, you can see what Cole Anthony could look like on defense when he’s locked in. He gets around the screen and stays in front of his man. Then, he helps down to cover the pass which forces the offensive player to throw an errant pass and turn it over. This is the type of high IQ play that has me excited about his potential on the defensive end.

He’s been up and down with his on-ball defense though which has been concerning:

It seems to be that his footwork is just bad so there might be room to grow but I don’t think he’ll ever be a legit deterrent on-ball on defense. However, his team defense could actually shine in the NBA. He also has shown some shades of rim protection:

Like, what PG is doing that? That play is incredible.

With what I’ve seen on tape, I optimistic that he can be a positive defender in the NBA. He’s only a one position defender but his defensive IQ should help him to disrupt offenses and make an impact.

Hornets Fit

So why are we looking for a guard if we have Devonte’ Graham & Terry Rozier? Well, I don’t see either having the potential of being an all-star level initiator. Rozier leaves a lot to be desired as a play-maker and pull-up shooter which limits his primary guard value. Devonte’ Graham is great as a pull-up guy and play-maker but can’t really score anywhere else on the floor. Therefore, the Hornets are still in need of a guy to lead the offense.

I really think Cole could be that guy. He’s a better play-maker than Rozier and has a more versatile scoring package than Graham (and Rozier really). The Hornets are missing a guy that can really put pressure on the rim and get good looks and shots at the line. Cole could potentially be that guy. With his good team defense and ability to shoot in off-ball scenarios, he could also be able to be on the court for stretches with Rozier or Graham.

At his best, Cole could be a Lillard type of player on offense (he probably won’t be THAT good offensively). He’ll be a solid passer on the offensive end with great shooting gravity and the ability to put pressure on the rim. On defense, he actually could be a positive (which is a rarity among PGs and is valuable) with his team defense and improved point-of-attack defense. If he doesn’t hit right, he’ll still be a stellar shooter I feel like and still add the team defense. However, his decision-making could hold him back and he could be a liability when defending other guards.

I’m optimistic that Cole will land closer to that optimal outcome. He’s such a smart defender that I believe that that should translate to the offensive end and he’s shown a lot of growth as a decision-maker this year. With his defense, he’s shown flashes of actually being good on-ball and if he can clean up his footwork, he could legitimately be good on that end. The Hornets currently have the seventh worst record in the league and I think they’ll pick around that 4-7 range. Cole Anthony would be a great pick in that range and would help us to potentially get the star that Charlotte needs.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Isaac Okoro

Isaac Okoro is a special player. And what’s special about Okoro can basically be summed up like this, he’s an exceptionally good decision maker who also makes decisions insanely quick AND he’s an elite athlete in every regard.

Much will be made of the upside of players like Anthony Edwards, Cole Anthony, LaMelo Ball, and even… the upside(?) of James Wiseman. And yet, Okoro’s upside might be higher than all of them. Okoro doesn’t fall under the camp often associated with high-levels of upside. He’s not a shot creator, some crazy pull-up threat, some great pick-and-roll player, or in Wiseman’s case a post-up threat. Okoro is an elite athlete, who has elite defensive instincts, elite basketball-IQ, elite defensive and offensive awareness, someone who’s made exponential strides in his perimeter skills just since his senior year of high-school, elite finisher, a high high level passer, and given his shot is by no means broken, he has high offensive-upside. Isaac Okoro is still 18, he wont turn 19 until January 26th.

Isaac Okoro hasn’t lost a competitive game of basketball since the summer of 2018. Isaac Okoro is a winning basketball player in every definable sense of the words.

Offense: Finishing/Drawing Fouls

Despite shooting 20.8% from 3, and 66% from the line, Okoro still has a 61 TS%.

This combination of strength & balance is very important in the NBA, not only for offense, but it’s important for his defense upside too.
Okoro despite being built like a boulder is a very fluid athlete for his size, and also as Max noted, a very good finisher with both hands.
Okoro just since his senior year is making drastic leaps with his dribbling which is a very encouraging sign. Not only because these skills will help him, but just such exponential growth in and of itself is encouraging for other areas you’d like to see improvement in (shooting).

Simply due to the fact Okoro is able to beat people to spots, and he’s absurdly strong and balanced, he draws a lot of fouls. Isaac Okoro currently has a 43.9 FTr. That’s really good, it’s higher than Anthony Edwards who has a 41.9 FTr.

Patience and awareness by Okoros probing the zone. It’s just so difficult to defend here cause of Okoro’s passing ability combined with his finishing.
Okoro is just strong, really really strong


Isaac Okoro’s feel on offense is elite. He understand’s the game, he see’s the passing lanes, and he reads & reacts to the game quickly with impressive consistency.

Notice a bit of his ambidexterity here with the initial pass, and overall a very quick & good decision maker .
I love this play simply cause it helps illustrate how smart and quick Okoro thinks. As soon as he puts the ball down he immediately attacks the front foot of the defender to create a driving lane and then just 2v1s the big, pure basketball.


PnR out of triple-threat. Okoro is a strong strong player, but he’s not reliant on his athleticism as you can see here. Creates the driving lane with the jab, and then there’s just no stopping him.
More ambidextrous highlights. Attacks the front foot of the defender and explodes off the first step.
Explosive explosive player
Strength & balance. Qualities of almost every single high-impact player in the league.


Okoro’s numbers this year are not great, but given his recent improvment in dribbling and the fact that he has decent fundamentals, there is hope. He’s 18, he’s a basketball genius and in the right hands there’s reason to think he can become a competent shooter in the NBA.

Cooking with gas here, really fluid step-back 3.


Okoro is not a defensive prospect, he is the defensive prospect. He is an elite athlete, who has elite awareness + elite instincts, and he’s quite mobile for a small truck.


Part of being a good on-ball defender is being strong & balanced. You can see it here has Okoro defends a big in the post:

And the other part of having an impact as an on-ball defender is mobility. Okoro has both the quickness,as well as enough flexibility with screens to guard POA:

This is really encouraging for his potential as wing-stopper, because he will need to defend POA to do so.
Okoro is just straight up scary, there’s no other way to describe it.
Okoro for a guy his size is good at getting over screens, and that combined with his strength and instincts and IQ is a formidable wing-stopper in the NBA.
Deters the drive as safety, and lighting instincts on the block.
Get bit of the mobility and strength here. Player walks cause after he bumps Okoro he has no where to go.


Almost exact play as the one two videos above, a bit of on-ball and off-ball awareness. Complete defender.
Great awareness.
Great awareness and instincts here, one of the ways Okoro brings a very clear impact off-ball.
Okoro is AMAZING


So how does this all work. When I wrote about Tyrese Maxey, it was easy to imagine how he might fit a role as a partial creator. Players such as Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Or even Victor Oladipo provide both on and off-ball value. But, Okoro is a more tricky fit.

Okoro on defense is an easy fit. In the NBA, you are basically who you can guard on defense. And Okoro can guard most 4s all the way down to most 2s. That’s just actually guarding, I’m pretty sure Okoro can contain 1-5. Between his speed, lateral quickness, instincts, and strength.

On offense, it depends. If Okoro can shoot then you could use him as a spot-up threat. But the real value, and even if he doesn’t shoot, is a PnR/short-roll threat. And the closest comparison is Ben Simmons. Ben like Okoro doesn’t provide the necessary rim protection to play the 5 on defense. However, if you can pair Okoro with a stretch 5 like Brook Lopez or Jaren Jackson Jr., then in return you’re going to get elite level value. A wing-stopper who has elite decision making, passing, vision AND finishing around the rim is a high-impact player. You could win a ring with that as a starter.

This role is harder to see cause given their roster construction Ben hasn’t been able to do this, but he can operate as an athletic wing in PnR:

Like Ben, Okoro is an excellent passer and trustworthy decision maker. This is a zone, but you can see the short-roll skills:

Another point worth mentioning, is players who can attack the paint and finish or pass regardless of shooting, are very valuable. Ben Simmons does this despite the spacing, but a better example is Draymond who consistently attacks his man standing in the lane and beats them by his passing and IQ. Okoro maybe isn’t quite the passer Draymond or Ben are but I think he can definitely do this, and he’s a much better finisher than Draymond. These exceptions are available to players who are as smart and think as quickly as Okoro, Ben, and Draymond. IQ, feel, quick decision making, quick problem solving, are going to enable Okoro to be an elite defender and also be a serviceable player on offense.

Bit of both the passing and finishing here for Okoro, clearly not a guy you want to allow space to get to the rim (ignoring him/sagging off).
It’s not too far out to imagine Okoro doing what Andre Or Draymond are in this clip.

All that to say, I think shooting or no shooting, he’s a very good starter in the league with the right personnel. The shooting could come along, no one should be out on Okoro’s shooting potential. But, it’s not necessary to unleashing Okoro unto the NBA. Okoro is one of the best players, if not the best player, in the draft, and don’t let his shooting scare you away.