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Denver Stiffs NBA Draft Prospect: Josh Okogie

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Athleticism, defense, and shooting

NCAA Basketball: NIT Semifinals-Georgia Tech vs Cal State Bakersfield Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Zhaire Smith | Robert Williams | Keita Bates-Diop | Miles Bridges | Josh Okogie | Chandler Hutchison

Josh Okogie had generated some NBA draft buzz last spring following an impressive freshmen season. He was the leading scorer for a middle-of-the-road Georgia Tech team, averaging 16.1 points per game on solid efficiency including 38.4% from behind the three-point arc while playing solid on-ball defense. He helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a surprise trip to the NIT championship game, propelling himself onto mock drafts as a 2nd round sleeper.

He elected to return for his sophomore season and once again stood out as the team’s most capable scorer. Georgia Tech had a disappointing year but he shows some signs that he‘d be a player who looks better alongside better teammates rather than as the focal point of a team‘s offense. He’s climbed draft boards in recent weeks, starting with his impressive display at the combine where he measured and tested well before standing out in the full court scrimmages.

Measureables

Age: 19
Height with shoes: 6’4.5”
Weight: 210
Wingspan: 7’
Standing Reach: 8’6
Body fat %: 5.2
Hand length: 9”

Standing Vertical:

Max Vertical: 42”
Standing Vertical: 33”
Lane Agility Time: 11.08”
Shuttle Run Time: 3.03
Three Quarter Sprint: 3.04
Max Bench Press Repetitions: 12

Stats

Per Game Table
Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS SOS
2016-17 Georgia Tech ACC 37 37 30.8 5.2 11.6 .453 4.5 9.6 .468 0.8 2.0 .384 4.9 6.5 .747 1.5 3.9 5.4 1.6 1.3 0.7 2.1 2.5 16.1 8.21
2017-18 Georgia Tech ACC 24 24 36.4 5.5 13.3 .416 4.0 9.2 .432 1.6 4.2 .380 5.5 6.8 .821 2.3 4.0 6.3 2.5 1.8 1.0 2.5 2.9 18.2 7.47
Career Georgia Tech 61 61 33.0 5.4 12.3 .437 4.3 9.4 .454 1.1 2.8 .382 5.1 6.6 .777 1.8 4.0 5.8 2.0 1.5 0.8 2.3 2.7 16.9 7.84
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/11/2018.

Strengths

Athleticism: Okogie is a strong and study guard. At 6’4.5” and 210 lbs. he punishes smaller defenders with straight line drives and rim attacks. He is great at getting to the free-throw line, especially in transition where over a quarter of all of his possessions ended with him at the charity stripe, per Synergy. His 8’6” standing reach is the highest of all players 6’5” or shorter and his 42” max vertical was tied for the best at the combine. He scored extremely well in every performance test including 4th in standing vertical, 1st in three-quarter sprint, 7th in the shuttle run, and 11th in bench press.

Intensity: Okogie competes HARD. His athleticism, frame, and intensity make him something of a bulldog on both ends of the court. As Georgia Tech’s number one option on offense, he had a tendency to take plays off defensively early in game but few played as hard as Okogie when the game was on the line.

Defense: His 2.0 defensive box plus-minus might suggest otherwise but Okogie showed real signs of being a capable defensive stopper. He’s great at navigating screens and his long arms help him contest even when he falls a half-step behind. He’s stronger than just about every player he faced at either guard position and might be strong enough to hold his own against most forwards in short stints.

First step and off-ball cutting: Okogie doesn’t have a lot of polish to his all-around offensive game (although significantly more than Zhaire Smith) but he does have a great first step to get by defenders on closeouts. He also has shown signs of being a solid cutter and finisher off ball which might make him a solid 4th or 5th option on offense.

Catch-and-shoot shooting: Although he shot ”just“ 38% last season from behind the arc, Okogie ranked in the 90th percentile on no-dribble spot-up jump shots, according to Synergy. His shot is smooth and balanced which, paired with his 82% free-throw percentage, provides solid evidence that he could grow into a reliable floor spacer. He might already be one in hiding.

Weaknesses

Size: In a league moving more and more toward defensive versatility, Okogie’s 6’4.5” height might become a factor that limits his upside. He makes up for it some with his 8’6” standing reach but Okogie will have to really focus on his defensive footwork, strength, and execution in order to become a switcheable defender.

Offensive polish: Okogie’s handle and footwork aren’t anything to write home about which is why I don’t think he profiles as a number one or number two option on offense. His first step is great but he doesn’t have a lot of moves to get past defenders who are set and in position to guad him. He also plays below the rim a lot more than you’d expect from a player with his athleticism, especially off of his own drives.

Low release on his shot: In addition to being on the short end, Okogie doesn’t get a lot of lift on his jump shot which leads to a fairly low release.

Fit with the Denver Nuggets

Okogie isn’t the type of player Denver needs most at the moment but there are signs that he could be the late first-round sleeper of this year’s draft. His skill set screams role player on offense and a defensive ace on defense but in college he was asked to be the opposite. In a league where “3 and D” players are the holy grail, Okogie's upside is a reliable knock-down shooter and cutter who can defend opposing teams’ best back court player.

He’s also young for a two-year college player, not turning 20 until September so there’s reason to think that he has a lot more left on his growth curve. The Nuggets brought him in on the same day as Troy Brown Jr. and Zhaire Smith, two players projected ahead of him in this year’s draft. Pairing him against Zhaire was especially interesting since both guys are undersized, hype-athletic, somewhat raw offensive talents. I’m higher on Okogie than I am Zhaire even though neither seem to fit an immediate need but that workout probably helped answer some questions about both players.

Okogie will be considered a reach at 14 but he is among my favorite targets for Denver if they move back in the draft or are unable to land one of the wings who are projected to go in the late lottery. I love his motor and I think his skill set works well alongisde a player like Nikola Jokic. Don’t be surprised if Okogie is among the standout players at summer league in July.