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Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu

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Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#1 » by Jamaaliver » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:59 am

NBA draft stock watch: Latest breakout players for 2020

Onyeka Okongwu | 6-9 | C | Age: 19

Overall ranking:
No. 15

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Okongwu has emerged as one of the most productive players in the NCAA...He ranks eighth in the country in player efficiency rating (39.2), with eye-popping per-40-minute averages of 26.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 4.5 blocks while shooting 63.7% from 2 and 72.1% from the foul line. More of an acquired taste for some scouts as a 6-foot-9 center who doesn't space the floor, Okongwu has been just short of dominant through 11 games, without needing a huge offensive role to make an impact.

While the fact that he can score with his back to the basket is a big reason he has been so productive, Okongwu's true NBA intrigue lies on the defensive end. He has outstanding timing in the paint as a rim-protector and has shown the ability to switch onto guards, while also understanding how to drop in pick-and-rolls. Even at his size, he can elevate and snatch defensive rebounds in traffic. He plays hard, with the instincts and incredible quick-leaping ability to fit in the modern game -- even if he does get buried in the post by traditional centers.

Offensively, Okongwu plays a simple game. He does a lot of his damage in the paint on offensive rebounds, post-ups and at-rim finishes, with great hands and touch.

He might not have the same upside appeal as Wiseman, but it wouldn't be shocking to look back in a few years and see Okongwu as the most impactful center from this draft. Although not quite as bouncy, he holds some similar strengths and weaknesses to Bam Adebayo. -- Mike Schmitz
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#2 » by Jamaaliver » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:06 am

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Okongwu has been the top-rated big man on our board for awhile, and he moves up one spot to No. 4 in my top five here. I'm just a huge believer in the tools and what it will look like in a few years. He'll be able to step out onto the perimeter and switch on defense early, and he's already one of the most natural shot-blockers in this draft class. There is always a spot for a big with those specific skills in the NBA.

Offensively, while he rarely took 3-pointers at USC (a whopping four), his long-term outlook makes me believe there's no reason to think he can't extend his range. And that may be where value differs from team to team. Do you take a big man in the top five who is a great defender but can't space the floor consistently yet? Probably not unless you know he's got real potential. Shooting 72% from the free throw line and 61.6% from the floor last season is enough to buy enough believers to convince someone he's worthy of top five inclusion.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#3 » by Jamaaliver » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:09 am

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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#4 » by Jamaaliver » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:18 am

Onyeka Okongwu Scouting Report

Estimated 6’9.5″ with a 7’1″ wingspan

Despite his limitations as a passer, Onyeka has shown some flashes in terms of awareness and generosity: turning his head before he’s even secured the ball to survey available options on the weakside, distributing carefully-played lobs in a high-low set, and kicking out with left. Has shown flashes of interior shovel pass ability.

On occasion has shown repertoire of advanced moves: can lace together a spin into an up-and-under scoop with nice fluidity, can access reverse pivots and drop-step feints without problem. Has thrown in a couple euro-steps this year. Gets great speed and balance on the spin while keeping the ball tight, which he periodically brings out multiple times in a sequence.

Onyeka presents an option as a relatively “safe” pick with bankable rotation player equity, and his rim protection is certainly some of the best you’ll find in the draft, but it seems unlikely that he is deserving of a top-10 selection.


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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#5 » by Jamaaliver » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:18 am

USC’s Onyeka Okongwu Is The 2020 NBA Draft’s Biggest Game-Wrecker

Looking at this year’s draft class, USC’s Onyeka Okongwu is the player that stands out amongst the rest of the big men. At 6-foot-9, with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Okongwu has turned in a historic season for the Trojans thus far. On the year, Okongwu is averaging 16.4 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game, 3 blocks per game and 1.1 steals per game. There hasn’t been a freshman that reached all those marks since the 1993-94 season. On top of that, Okongwu’s 8.1 defensive box plus/minus and 13.9 overall box plus/minus put him in elite company. The only other freshmen that have played significant minutes (300+) and managed to clear those benchmarks are Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jaren Jackson Jr., Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel.

Okongwu is a near-elite shot blocker in general. Nobody in this freshman class that plays at least 20 minutes per game has a higher block rate than his 10.8. It’s his combination of athleticism, length and timing that make him so good around the basket, and those tools should allow him to play the five at the next level, despite the fact that he’s a bit short for a center.

Offensively, Okongwu should be good as a rim runner immediately. According to Synergy Sports, he’s scoring 1.162 points per possession as a pick-and-roll roll man, which puts him in the 75th percentile in the country. That alone will make him good enough to help a team early in his career.

To sum things up, Okongwu checks a lot of the boxes that you’re looking for in a modern center. Given his defensive ability, opposing teams are unlikely to find ways to play him off the floor. Targeting him in the pick and roll simply won’t be effective enough. And offensively, Okongwu does enough to help take pressure off the rest of his teammates.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#6 » by birdlives_ma » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:44 pm

This is where it's such a bummer that we didn't see any of Clint yet. I really like this kid's game, and seems like a high character guy you'd love to have on your team. But if Capela ends up bringing the rim protection we need, Onyeka is probably redundant. And in a draft where I expect fit/situation to determine success more than even usual, I'd rather take a guy we could give a clear role from the jump.

Also this tidbit, "Onyeka presents an option as a relatively “safe” pick with bankable rotation player equity," has me Vietnam-flashbacking to Sheldon Williams. That's my own bias and shouldn't factor in, but it took me back for a second lol
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#7 » by kg01 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:25 pm

birdlives_ma wrote:This is where it's such a bummer that we didn't see any of Clint yet. I really like this kid's game, and seems like a high character guy you'd love to have on your team. But if Capela ends up bringing the rim protection we need, Onyeka is probably redundant. And in a draft where I expect fit/situation to determine success more than even usual, I'd rather take a guy we could give a clear role from the jump.

Also this tidbit, "Onyeka presents an option as a relatively “safe” pick with bankable rotation player equity," has me Vietnam-flashbacking to Sheldon Williams. That's my own bias and shouldn't factor in, but it took me back for a second lol


I'm right there shivering in that foxhole with you brother.

Every draft eggspert I've listened to in the past couple weeks has said the same thing about this kid. "Safe", "low ceiling/high floor".

I wonder if he could be another Adebayo-type. Does he have that kind of length and athleticism? I'm thinking not but would be curious what others think.

If we keep the pick, I could get ok with this kid. Unlike Wiseman, you at least know he'll come in and be a worker. Contribute from day 1. Incidentally, each eggspert liked this guy over Wiseman and it wasn't close. But each admitted Wiseman's ceiling was much higher. Caveat being Wiseman's floor was essentially bottomless.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#8 » by HMFFL » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:33 am

Does anyone think Onyeka Okongwu is capable of developing 3 point range?

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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#9 » by atlantabbq99 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:30 am

HMFFL wrote:Does anyone think Onyeka Okongwu is capable of developing 3 point range?

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Yes. His shot is not broken, good mechanics. He has a decent 18 footer when he takes it. He shoots +70% from the free throw line.

If you want to go into analytics, Okongwu and John Collins have the same advanced shooting stats when they were both in college.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#10 » by Jamaaliver » Wed May 13, 2020 10:48 pm

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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#11 » by Spud2nique » Thu May 14, 2020 7:14 am

Okongwu and Okoro are my guys! Let’s get it!
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#12 » by King Ken » Thu May 14, 2020 7:17 am

Huge Okongwu fan. One of my favorite prospects this year.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#13 » by Jamaaliver » Wed May 20, 2020 3:35 am

Can Onyeka Okongwu be the next Bam Adebayo or Draymond Green?



Okongwu has the tools to play a very specific, and very valuable, role at the next level: A ball-screen switching, shot-blocking, lob-catching center. Put another way, he has all the warning signs of being the next Bam Adebayo.

The thing that immediately stands out when watching Okongwu’s tape is his explosiveness. He has what I like to call Go Get It ability. No matter where the lob is thrown, no matter how much arc is put on that floater, Okongwu can Go Get It. He stands 6-foot-9 with a wingspan that is reportedly in the 7-foot-2 range and a vertical that is … let’s just say high.

This gets to the core of what will make him a valuable piece on an NBA roster. On the defensive side of the ball, Okongwu averaged 3.5 blocks per 40 minutes as a freshman, showing an impressive ability to protect the rim from the weakside of the floor. It’s not just the blocks, however. He understands how to be a presence around the basket. In this clip, you’ll see Okongwu shed a seal, scare the driver off going up to the rim and stay on his feet until the shot is taken. He can go vertical and contest at the rim, and he also blocked a surprising number of jumpers for a player that didn’t spend much time on the perimeter.
Spoiler:
That, however, is only half of what makes him so intriguing as a defender, because Okongwu has been proven to be quite adept at moving his feet out on the perimeter. It will be different defending NBA point guards, but locking up good college guards on switches is impressive for a 245 pound freshman that turned 19 in December. USC used a number of different ball-screen coverages throughout the year, but it’s not hard to find examples of Okongwu executing drop coverage, which is prevalent in the modern NBA.

Offensively, more than 44% of Okongwu’s usage came on post-ups and offensive rebounds, which also happened to be where he was the most effective and efficient. Those are two things that are slowly being phased out of the modern NBA, but that’s not necessarily a huge concern for Okongwu. For starters, he’s more of a finesse post player than he is straight-up bruiser. He can finish with jump-hooks over both shoulders, and he has a habit of spinning back to his left hand, where he’s developed a nice little floater. Put another way, he has touch around the basket, which, when combined with his 72 percent free throw shooting and a handful of made 17-footers, makes the possibility of Okongwu one day becoming something of a floor-spacer feasible. He shot just 1-for-4 from three as a freshman.

As a vertical spacer, he’s going to be awesome. He has bounce, he has great hands and he didn’t even get a chance to play with a good pick-and-roll point guard in college to prove it.

When putting all of that together, Okongwu’s floor is high. As long as he stays healthy, I think the likelihood that he ends up being something in the neighborhood of Clint Capela is significant. But the difference between a guy like Capela and Bam Adebayo, or even Draymond Green before him, is the passing.

What makes Green so effective with the Warriors is his ability to pick apart a defense in 4-on-3 scenarios when teams send two defenders with Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. Adebayo made the leap from being a talented young big man to an All-Star when he turned into a guy that averages 5.1 assists. Both Green and Adebayo thrive as playmakers in short-roll actions, and that, to me, is the key to Okongwu reaching his ceiling.

He didn’t get too many chances in these actions last season, and when he did, it wasn’t always pretty. He finished the year with 30 assists and 56 turnovers, and ball-handling is clearly not yet one of his strong suits as it is with Green and Adebayo. But I do think the potential is there. Okongwu showed the ability to pass out of the post and hit drivers or weakside shooters, and there are more than a few examples of him making quick reads to create open shots for his teammates. Now, passing with your back to the basket and playmaking as a roller in ball-screens are two different things, but both require the cognitive ability to read and react to what a defense is giving you.

If Okongwu can do the former then it stands to reason that, with some coaching, he can do the latter.

Now, let’s put this into context. Adebayo averaged 16-10-5-1-1 in 2019-20. That line has only happened 11 other times in the 46 seasons since blocks were kept as an official stat, putting Adebayo in the same sentence as Kevin Garnett (3), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2), Giannis Antetokounmpo (2), Larry Bird, Bill Walton, Chris Webber and DeMarcus Cousins.

That’s it.

So when I say that becoming the next Bam Adebayo is within Onyeka Okongwu’s range of outcomes, understand that that’s a massive compliment.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#14 » by Jamaaliver » Fri May 29, 2020 5:30 pm

1 Surprise Draft Prospect Each Lottery Team Could Target

Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu (USC, C, Freshman)

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The Atlanta Hawks' acquisition of Clint Capela may suggest the team won't be looking at bigs in the draft. But he's also dealt with injuries over the years, including one that limited him to 39 games in 2019-20. And at this stage of his career, he's not getting any better offensively.

For the Hawks, it's worth thinking about Onyeka Okongwu, the No. 1 center on our board who offers Capela's finishing and shot-blocking as well as a whole other level of scoring upside.

To start, Atlanta can bring Okongwu off the bench for energy and athleticism that translates to easy baskets, second-chance points and rim protection. But he also ranked in the 94th percentile on post-ups while shooting 15-of-35 on half-court jumpers and 72.0 percent on free throws.

With his shot creation and touch inside, plus the defensive versatility to anchor the paint, guard pick-and-rolls and switch around the perimeter, he's a fit next to John Collins, as well as a potential long-term upgrade over Capela.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#15 » by Jamaaliver » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:11 pm

Onyeka Okongwu, Center, USC — 6’9”, 245 lbs, 19.5 years old
Per 36 Numbers: 19.0 PTS, 10.2 REB, 1.3 AST, 3.2 BLK, 1.4 STL, 2.3 TO

Percentages: 64.5 TS%, N/A 3PT%, 72.0 FT%, 61.6 FG%

Just gonna go ahead and leave this here...


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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#16 » by Jamaaliver » Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:14 pm

Onyeka Okongwu -- Center
Southern California • Fr • 6'9" / 245 lbs

PPG -- 16.2
RPG -- 8.6
APG -- 1.1
3P FG% -- 25%

Onyeka Okongwu mostly operated off of the national radar this past season because he played for an unranked team on the West Coast. But he was fantastic rather quickly — averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 61.6% from the field. He's the main reason USC won 16 of its first 20 games and would've been in the NCAA Tournament if the NCAA Tournament would've been played. Is he an undersized big? Yes, probably. But he's an undersized big who can play multiple positions. And, either way, the NBA is now littered with undersized bigs. So even though Okongwu wasn't thought of this way coming out of high school, it's now reasonable to call him the second best big prospect in the draft.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#17 » by Jamaaliver » Tue Jul 7, 2020 9:53 pm

Onyeka Okongwu Scouting Report

Strengths:

Handle

While not an outright necessity, having your big men able to handle the ball is a great plus in the modern NBA. Okongwu fits that mold, controlling the ball like a guard in transition and in halfcourt situations.

He can get his own bucket in isolation, which helps offset his lack of spacing. He’s also a solid passer, showing shades of Kevin Love on his deep outlets.

Rim-protection

Okongwu is a fantastic paint defender and an exceptionally smart shot-blocker. He’s quick on the attack and uses every inch of his 7’1 wingspan to reject shots. He averaged nearly three blocks per game as a freshman, 2nd best in the Pac-12 and 9th in the nation.

His vertical pop might be the best aspect of his game and he uses that on both ends of the court. On D, he flies through the air to contest shots, including frequent chase-down blocks.

Rim-running

On the other end of the court, he uses his athleticism as a dunker. Okongwu is a walking highlight and a threat to catch a lob every time he cuts. He’s fearless driving into the lane and can put anyone on a poster, at any time.

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If he’s paired with a high-level P&R point guard like Trae Young or Damian Lillard, he’ll be lethal as a cutter.

P&R on both ends


Okongwu shines as a pick and roll player on both ends of the court. He’s an elite roll man on offense thanks to his aforementioned ability to rim run. Defensively, he might be even better.

He has great instincts when reading the offense and features enough athleticism to confidently step out onto the perimeter in a switch. Looks like a seasoned veteran defensively at the age of 19.

Rebounds

Okongwu is sturdy and reliable on the glass. He has a non-stop motor and a pogo stick-like ability to fight for balls in the air. Uses speed and hops to out-rebound bigger, stronger opponents.
Spoiler:
Weaknesses:

Spacing and position


Okongwu can’t shoot the three and lacks the natural shooting motion that would lead you to believe he can improve on that throughout his career. Most teams can still afford to play a center that can’t space the floor, but having a four with range is a near-necessity these days.

At 6-foot-9, Okongwu can play both the four and five but would be undersized if he becomes a full-time center. Teams without a stretch five on the team may want to avoid drafting Okongwu.

Block-chaser

Okongwu can frequently bite on pump fakes, and with his sky-high leaps, it takes him a while to parachute down and recover. He can also get into foul trouble when chasing blocks and needs to be more patient.
Composure

Okongwu can play out of control at times, especially in the post. He can force bad shots and passes and is overall pretty raw for a guy expected to go in the early lottery. Teams can work on that and hope that some of it will go away naturally when he’s not always the #1 option like he was for USC.

Film Study:

Condensed Game versus UCLA:



What to watch for:

  • Patience (or lack thereof) in the post.
  • Jump shot mechanics
  • P&R defense.
  • Rolls out of picks and the intensity/efficiency of the picks.
  • Pop/energy level crashing the boards.

Self Film Breakdown via ESPN:



Fit with the Atlanta Hawks:

John Collins is going to be a popular player comparison for Okongwu, thanks to their high-flying dunks. While the comparison fits well in that regard, I think Okongwu will become a better defender, while Collins will be the better outside shooter.

The Atlanta Hawks don’t need a center but they do need a backup four. If they believe Okongwu is a better five, they should shy away from drafting him, no matter how good of a pairing he’d be with Trae Young.

In short, the Atlanta Hawks should value Okongwu, but maybe not as much as other teams who need desperately need frontcourt help.

The Bottom Line:

Onyeka Okongwu is one of my personal favorites in this draft class, and I think his high ceiling is matched with a fairly high floor. His big downfall is shooting and if he can ever add a three to his game, he will be a star.

For now, he’s a high-energy rebounder and defender who can sky for a dunk at any moment.
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Re: Prospect Spotlight -- Onyeka Okongwu 

Post#18 » by Spud2nique » Wed Jul 8, 2020 7:52 am

Jamaaliver wrote:
Onyeka Okongwu Scouting Report

Strengths:

Handle

While not an outright necessity, having your big men able to handle the ball is a great plus in the modern NBA. Okongwu fits that mold, controlling the ball like a guard in transition and in halfcourt situations.

He can get his own bucket in isolation, which helps offset his lack of spacing. He’s also a solid passer, showing shades of Kevin Love on his deep outlets.

Rim-protection

Okongwu is a fantastic paint defender and an exceptionally smart shot-blocker. He’s quick on the attack and uses every inch of his 7’1 wingspan to reject shots. He averaged nearly three blocks per game as a freshman, 2nd best in the Pac-12 and 9th in the nation.

His vertical pop might be the best aspect of his game and he uses that on both ends of the court. On D, he flies through the air to contest shots, including frequent chase-down blocks.

Rim-running

On the other end of the court, he uses his athleticism as a dunker. Okongwu is a walking highlight and a threat to catch a lob every time he cuts. He’s fearless driving into the lane and can put anyone on a poster, at any time.

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If he’s paired with a high-level P&R point guard like Trae Young or Damian Lillard, he’ll be lethal as a cutter.

P&R on both ends


Okongwu shines as a pick and roll player on both ends of the court. He’s an elite roll man on offense thanks to his aforementioned ability to rim run. Defensively, he might be even better.

He has great instincts when reading the offense and features enough athleticism to confidently step out onto the perimeter in a switch. Looks like a seasoned veteran defensively at the age of 19.

Rebounds

Okongwu is sturdy and reliable on the glass. He has a non-stop motor and a pogo stick-like ability to fight for balls in the air. Uses speed and hops to out-rebound bigger, stronger opponents.
Spoiler:
Weaknesses:

Spacing and position


Okongwu can’t shoot the three and lacks the natural shooting motion that would lead you to believe he can improve on that throughout his career. Most teams can still afford to play a center that can’t space the floor, but having a four with range is a near-necessity these days.

At 6-foot-9, Okongwu can play both the four and five but would be undersized if he becomes a full-time center. Teams without a stretch five on the team may want to avoid drafting Okongwu.

Block-chaser

Okongwu can frequently bite on pump fakes, and with his sky-high leaps, it takes him a while to parachute down and recover. He can also get into foul trouble when chasing blocks and needs to be more patient.
Composure

Okongwu can play out of control at times, especially in the post. He can force bad shots and passes and is overall pretty raw for a guy expected to go in the early lottery. Teams can work on that and hope that some of it will go away naturally when he’s not always the #1 option like he was for USC.

Film Study:

Condensed Game versus UCLA:



What to watch for:

  • Patience (or lack thereof) in the post.
  • Jump shot mechanics
  • P&R defense.
  • Rolls out of picks and the intensity/efficiency of the picks.
  • Pop/energy level crashing the boards.

Self Film Breakdown via ESPN:



Fit with the Atlanta Hawks:

John Collins is going to be a popular player comparison for Okongwu, thanks to their high-flying dunks. While the comparison fits well in that regard, I think Okongwu will become a better defender, while Collins will be the better outside shooter.

The Atlanta Hawks don’t need a center but they do need a backup four. If they believe Okongwu is a better five, they should shy away from drafting him, no matter how good of a pairing he’d be with Trae Young.

In short, the Atlanta Hawks should value Okongwu, but maybe not as much as other teams who need desperately need frontcourt help.

The Bottom Line:

Onyeka Okongwu is one of my personal favorites in this draft class, and I think his high ceiling is matched with a fairly high floor. His big downfall is shooting and if he can ever add a three to his game, he will be a star.

For now, he’s a high-energy rebounder and defender who can sky for a dunk at any moment.
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Ya he’s my #1 guy. I want 2 things to happen. The Hawks to get him and the Warriors to not get him. :nod:
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