San Antonio Spurs Prospect Watch: Onyeka Okongwu

Onyeka Okongwu

The San Antonio Spurs have slowly been working their way out of the lottery of the NBA Draft right now and would be picking in the last third of the lottery if the draft were to happen today. With that being said, there is plenty of talent to be found in that range and one name that pops up is freshman forward Onyeka Okongwu.

The USC Trojan is a 6-foot-9, 245-pound gazelle that gets up and down the floor effortlessly, but still finishes around the rim with power when possible. He’s a relentless rebounder with an excellent motor and a couple of easy go-to post moves. He may still be growing and could find himself standing closer to seven feet before it’s all said and done.

Here are his stats so far this season:

  • 18.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.1 BPG, 1.4 SPG
  • 62.2 FG%, 72.1 FT%
  • 129.3 ORtg, 86.6 DRtg

Okongwu is an excellent rim runner, has soft hands and is the owner of a large lob radius. He is excellent in pick-and-rolls, always finding his way to the rim in a straight line and getting easy passes for dunks or layups.

USC often runs BLOB (baseline out of bounds) plays for him to come over the top and receive an alley-oop for easy points. He has a major plus wingspan, which is one reason he gets so many easy buckets around the rim and in the lane.

The freshman phenom not only finishes nearly everything in the paint, but he also has takes care of the ball fairly well (1.5 turnovers per game) considering he has a usage rate of 26.4% when he is on the floor. If he can replicate that at the NBA level, he will be more than fine and would be a great complementary piece to Jakob Poeltl as they could essentially come in for one another.

Also like Poeltl, Okongwu is an excellent shot-blocker, has great instincts around the rim defensively and even gets after it on the offensive boards (he averages 3.4 offensive boards a game). He would help the Spurs get younger, more athletic and he can be molded as a shooter.

His free throw percentage suggests he should be able to step out and hit some mid-range jumpers almost immediately and with some tweaks to his form, he could realistically get out to the three-point line.

If he can make the arc on his shot more consistent and get it off a bit quicker, than Okongwu is going to be a major offensive threat in addition to already being the defensive monster he is today.


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