Mock drafts love Okongwu to the Wizards


Like most teams picking in the top-10 of the NBA draft, the Wizards have more than one need to address this offseason, but chief among them has to be rim protection, as they aim to improve what was arguably the league's worst defense.

If NBA mock drafts are any indication, the Wizards should have an opportunity to help that area in a big way as many draft evaluators see USC big man Oneyka Okongwu as the pick at No. 9. Okongwu, 19, averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks this past season for the Trojans.

Okongwu would give the Wizards some help in the paint, but also a versatile defender who can switch onto smaller players. On offense, he could form a strong pick-and-roll duo with John Wall as a bouncy rim-runner.

There is no question Okongwu would fit what the Wizards need, but there is doubt about whether he will be there at nine. Okongwu could very well be gone, especially if teams are buying into the popular comparison between him and Heat star Bam Adebayo, who just helped lead Miami to the NBA Finals.

Every mock draft has its own reasoning, though, and below is a collection of what people are saying about what the Wizards will do at No. 9. You can compare these picks to the last mock draft roundup we did, which was right after the lottery in August.

NBC Sports Washington - Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC


"The ideal scenario for the Wizards at this point appears to be Okongwu falling to No. 9. He very well could go earlier, but if he's there it should be an easy decision for Washington. Okongwu might be the best rim-protector in this class, plus he can rebound and finish at the rim. The Wizards have one of the league's worst defenses and Okongwu could make a major difference. He has drawn comparisons from many to Bam Adebayo and we just saw in the Heat's Finals run how valuable a player like that can be."

Sports Illustrated - Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

"The Wizards are hoping for a swift return to playoff contention with a healthy John Wall returning, but also needs young talent to bridge the gap should things break a different direction. Okongwu may not fall this far on draft night, but he’s an obvious fit in Washington if that’s ultimately what happens. He can provide defensive backbone and some useful minutes early on, while also helping address a long-term hole at center."

The Ringer - Obi Toppin, F, Dayton

"This is a critical choice for the Wizards since John Wall and Bradley Beal take up so much of the cap and have so few years left on their contracts. Toppin would be an immediate pick-and-roll lob threat for both, plus he can space the floor from 3."

CBS Sports - Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C USC

"I've been projecting Okongwu to the Wizards for a while now for two reasons. No. 1: the fit next to Brad Beal and John Wall as a lob-finisher makes a ton of sense, and he'd be an upgrade defensively from Thomas Bryant. And No. 2: It seems like he may be the most likely big man to slip to this range because teams aren't necessarily prioritizing bigs in the 6-10 range."

SB Nation - Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

"Haliburton is not the type of guard who breaks down the defense off the dribble and puts consistent pressure on the rim, meaning he’ll likely be at his best as a secondary ball handler. Add in his terrific defensive instincts — his 3.8 steal rate ranked top-40 in America — and Haliburton looks like a nice complementary piece if not exactly a future star."

NBA Draft Net - James Wiseman, C, Memphis

"Wiseman has physical tools that really stand out on the court, standing 7 feet with a long (7-foot-6 wingspan) and rangy frame … Considering his elite size, it is very intriguing that he brings nimble feet, agility, solid leaping ability and long strides making him an extremely promising big man on both ends of the floor."


Forbes - Devin Vassell, G/F, Florida State

"Quality 3-and-D wings are tremendously valuable in today's NBA, and Vassell projects as one of the most promising such prospects in this class."

Sporting News - Isaac Okoro, G/F, Auburn

"Okoro is regarded by many as the best wing defender in this year's draft class. He's versatile on that end of the floor and will have no trouble guarding 1-through-4, inside or out. His strength makes up for his height (6-foot-6) in defending bigger players. He's ideal defensively for the free-flowing, small-ball, position-less basketball we're starting to see in the NBA."

Uproxx - Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

"This is the best possible outcome for the Wizards. With all due respect to Thomas Bryant, Washington doesn’t have a full-proof plan at center long-term and Okongwu is also the best player available on my board by a clear margin. He may not be a star, but Okongwu may have the highest floor of any prospect in the 2020 class."