The Trail Blazers offseason is upon us, and the 2018 NBA Draft will provide Portland with an opportunity to supplement its roster with a talented youngster. With only the No. 24 pick at their disposal on draft night, the Blazers will look to strike gold by finding an NBA-worthy prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we will look at another two-way perimeter threat by examining Georgia Tech shooting guard Josh Okogie.
- Height: 6’4”
- Weight: 211
- Wingspan: 7’0”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: SG
- Age: 19
- Projected draft range: 27-43
- PPG: 18.2 | Per 40: 20.0
- APG: 2.5 | Per 40: 2.7
- STL: 1.8 | Per 40: 1.9
- RPG: 6.3 | Per 40: 6.9
- FG%: 41.6
- 3P%: 38.0
- FT%: 82.1
Mixing physical measurements and instincts, Okogie has potential as a two-way perimeter player. His physical gifts take center stage when the game opens up on both ends. Filling lanes and chasing down runaway opponents make Okogie a legitimate threat both ways in transition. In halfcourt sets, Okogie uses his excellent build to maneuver his way to favorable looks. The 19-year-old guard’s solid first step gets him by slow-footed defenders, and he possesses the frame to bulldoze smaller players. Once in the paint, Okogie does a solid job of getting to the free throw line by drawing contact.
Defense will get Okogie on the floor early in his career. Armed with a 7-foot wingspan, he will be able to guard multiple positions in the NBA. Okogie consistently stifles his own man while also helping his teammates on defense. By attacking rotations with purpose, he is able to provide highlight-worthy blocks and snag rebounds at high rate.
Efficiency is the biggest drawback in Okogie’s game. Due to a low release on his jump shot, the former Yellow Jacket is often forced into contested jump shots. Compounding shooting issues is his tendency to be a straight-line dribbler when putting the ball on the floor. Above average defenders can adapt to Okogie’s game by pursuing him aggressively on the perimeter. As a facilitator, Okogie is a below average out of the pick-and-roll. On defense, the 19-year-old guard will have to find a balance between chasing the ball and maintaining discipline. Okogie’s nose for the ball has the potential to make him special, but it can be exploited when he gets out of position.
Off-the-court issues and a lingering finger injury delayed Okogie’s start to last season. After receiving a handful of unsanctioned gifts, the 19-year-old guard had to serve a six-game suspension. His absence was stretched even longer when a dislocated finger on his left hand transitioned into a skin infection in the same area. Despite missing eight games, Okogie quickly established himself as the Yellow Jackets’ leading scorer. Even with their talented wing back in the rotation, Georgia Tech finished with a pedestrian 13-19 record. Victories over ranked opponents were few and far between, but Okogie’s 30-point outburst against Miami gave Georgia Tech a signature win for the season.
Even with noticeable flaws on the offensive end, Okogie’s potential to blossom into a useful role player is tough to pass on. He will be best suited as a tertiary piece on offense due to his shooting inconsistencies. While he won’t have many plays called for him in the halfcourt, Okogie will be able to act as a safety valve when his defender loses track of him. Along with his ability to hit open shots, he will make opponents pay with his instincts as a cutter. Being able to guard multiple positions at a high level will drive Okogie’s draft stock, as his long-term projection slates him as a player that will draw the toughest perimeter assignment on a nightly basis.
Despite a significant difference in height, Okogie is easily comparable to current Blazers forward Maurice Harkless. At his best, Harkless is a dangerous cutter that thrives when the floor opens up. Offensively, Okogie will be able to do much of the same at a lower height and salary. Unfortunately, the 19-year-old guard will have to make improvements to his three-point shot before he can be counted on to provide spacing for the Blazers’ offense. Offense aside, defensive tenacity in tandem with an NBA-ready body would put Okogie on the radar for minutes early in his career with Portland. If coach Terry Stotts’ rotation loses some of its current depth due to free agency, Okogie wouldn’t be far way from filling a few specific on-the-court needs.
Do you want to see Okogie in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? What prospect would you like to see us highlight next? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.