Warriors

Warriors

Onyeka Okongwu is a 6-foot-9 big man who played his lone season of college basketball for the USC Trojans. He might end up being a top five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Is there a chance he ends up hearing his name called before James Wiseman -- the 7-foot center who only played three games as a freshman at Memphis?

Well, as Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

Believe it or not, the Warriors are actually higher on Southern Cal’s Okongwu than James Wiseman. If they end up taking a big man in the top five, it’ll almost definitely be the 6-foot-9 Okongwu. His game is well-suited for the Warriors’ style.

Unlike Wiseman, Okongwu can shuttle between multiple positions with ease. If the Warriors get the No. 4 or 5 pick, they’ll definitely consider Okongwu.

Okongwu averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.2 steals this season, while shooting nearly 62 percent overall and 72 percent from the free throw line.


Draft analysts are comparing the 19-year-old to the Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo, who was the No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and made a huge leap this season. The Kentucky product was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve, averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. 


"We have a similar body, similar athleticism," Okongwu told ESPN's Mike Schmitz. "It's an honor to be compared to him."

 

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So what specifically does Okongwu bring to the table?

"Defense honestly. I'm defensive-minded," he explained. "I love defense over offense and I'm able to protect the rim. Run and give a lot of energy.

"Playing hard is a skillset -- I know I can bring that to a team in the NBA."

[RELATED: Why Bilas would draft Wiseman No. 1 if Dubs get top pick]

Draymond Green probably loves this answer more than anybody, and it's safe to assume the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year would enjoy playing alongside Okongwu.

As The Athletic's John Hollinger wrote recently:

Relative to his position he’s arguably the best player in this draft, and in particular would seem to be an outstanding fit with the Golden State Warriors.

It sounds like Warriors fans should start keeping tabs on Okongwu.

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