Josh Okogie Wants To Shut Down Your Stars
This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sophomore, G, Georgia Tech
6’4, 207 lbs
College Stats in 2017-18:
24 games, 36.4 MPG, 18.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 41.6 FG%, 38.0 3P%, 82.1 FT%
Where he’ll go:
Okogie will likely be a first-round pick, but is unlikely to be selected in the lottery.
NBA players are not going to enjoy playing against Josh Okogie.
Okogie is a disruptor. He’s a big, athletic, shooting guard who doesn’t back down from competition, plays hard every possession, and takes defense personally. His seven-foot wingspan helps him cut off passing lanes, and his strength helps him bully smaller guards. He understands defensive schemes, and he’s a smart help defender with shot-blocking ability. There’s little question about his ability to defend in the NBA.
There’s no question Okogie has NBA-level athleticism. He led the combine in max vertical leap and three-quarter sprint, and finished near the top in standing vertical. His lane agility time wasn’t great, but with some more conditioning and training under his belt, he’ll certainly be able to hang with NBA athletes.
The big question with Okogie is how effectively his offense, especially his three-point shooting, will translate to the next level. He shot 38 percent on 4.2 attempts per game from three last year with Georgia Tech. That’s not exactly elite, and his form is a little funky with a fairly low release point that could make it harder to shoot in the NBA. However, he’s solid enough that a team that trusts in its ability to help Okogie with his jumper will absolutely take a chance on him.
Okogie also has an offensive game outside of his three-point shooting. He’s averaged 2.3 offensive rebounds last year, and he’s a great cutter off the ball. He’s also shown a nice ability to hit from midrange off the bounce. He isn’t a go-to scorer, and he has some trouble creating his own looks, but if he plays with someone who is able to put him in good positions, Okogie can absolutely finish. Okogie was also great at getting to the line in college—using his strength to bully his defenders into committing fouls. He might not get as many whistles in the NBA, but it’s a good sign that he’s willing to assert himself.
The NBA is enamored with “3 and D” prospects right now, and Okogie fits that mold. If he can stay on the floor, he could easily develop into the type of defensive glue guy that holds a team together: think Wesley Matthews or Marcus Smart. However, his shot needs to fall. Okogie might not be able to play much right away because of his jumper, but give him a few years to develop his three-point skills, and improve his defense from great to elite, and he’ll have a long NBA career.
Okogie won’t be the sexiest pick on draft night, but he has an opportunity to make a front office look very smart down the line.