Portland Trail Blazers: 4 upside players at No. 25 in 2019 NBA Draft

Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images
Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images) /

1. KZ Okpala

Position: SF
Age: 20
Height: 6’9.5″/7’1.75″ wingspan
Weight: 210 pounds

KZ Okpala just looks like a professional basketball player. He is tall, has a solid frame, is long and athletic. He played two years at Stanford University and turned himself into an NBA prospect. In his sophomore season, he averaged 16.8 points,5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from the 3-point line.

Okapala has the physical tools to play in the league, but he is still very raw on both ends of the court. He struggles shooting the ball off the dribble and scoring inside due to his lack of strength. He projects as a good defender at the next level, but he needs to improve his IQ and footwork, or he will get exposed. He has been compared to Brandon Ingram, but his skills are far less advanced than Ingram’s were at that point.

Okapala has a thin body right now, but he has a reasonable frame that looks like he will be able to add muscle to without slowing him down. Coming into college, he was not the best shooter, but worked hard to change up his jump shot to become a solid all-around one. He will at least be able to hit standstill 3s right away. There is still room for improvement, and he will only get better being around professional shooting coaches.

He has good ball-handling skills and has shown flashes of being a smart playmaker at the forward spot. If he can become a decent defender and better shooter, Okapala has a chance to carve out a role as a 3-and-D player.

Portland has been in search of a 3-and-D wing for a couple of seasons now, and Okapala looks like a guy that can help in a couple of years if he figures it all out. The Blazers have Maurice Harkless, Evan Turner and will probably add a player this summer in free agency at small forward, so he wouldn’t have to play right away and could take a year or two learning the game and growing his body, as Anfernee Simons has been.

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The Blazers haven’t had guys built like Okapla in their backcourt for a bit and should be willing to take a chance on him if he’s available at No. 25.