As we close out our draft previews, it is time to look at Onyeka Okongwu. For the uninitiated, he is the new prototype of the modern big man.
Editor’s note: According to multiple sources, including former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, Onyeka Okongwu has an injured foot. As of Wednesday morning, teams are scrambling to get more info, but that is all we know at this point.
Onyeka Okongwu has been a fast riser in the NBA draft rankings of late, specifically since the run of the Miami Heat. Bam Adebayo was one of the main driving forces for the team and shed a light on what the modern big man can be. Okongwu looks ready to be a starter right off the bat and would help change the defensive culture of whatever team he ends up on.
He is a little bit older than his fellow freshman, turning 20 a little over a week before the start of the season but he is still far from a finished project. He was a two time California Mr. Basketball in high school and followed that up with a first-team All-Pac-12 at USC. So start with the basic information:
2020 NBA Draft Profile
Name: Onyeka Okongwu
Height: 6’9” (7’1” wingspan)
Weight: 245 lbs.
Position: Power Forward/Center
College: University of Southern California/Freshman
NBA Comparison: Bam Adebayo
Onyeka Okongwu’s strengths
Okongwu is athletic enough to guard multiple positions, both on the perimeter and on the block. He has expert timing and instincts. He thrives in pick-and-roll defense. For teams taking a swing on him in the lottery, he is transformational on that end of the ball and will make his teammates better.
He has a strong handle and is not afraid to put the ball on the floor and drive the lane. He will kick out to open shooters and make the right play to make his team better. He is super-efficient in the post and has a growing array of post moves. He finishes so well around the rim and will be a double-double machine.
For some of the top prospects in this draft, his motor is a question mark but that is not an issue for Okongwu. He is an exceptionally hard worker and clearly wants to get better. He will all the little things to improve.