While college basketball is still in full swing, people are already starting to look forward to the 2015 NBA Draft. Just last week, I published my initial one round NBA Mock Draft and now, beginning this week, I will begin the process of breaking down as many of the draft’s prospects as possible, beginning with the projected lottery picks and then working my way down the draft board. Our first scouting report is going to be on Duke star, Jahil Okafor, who is looking like the surefire number one pick at this point.
Name: Jahil Okafor
Weight: 272 lbs
Age: 19 years old
Current 2015 CBB Stats: 18.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 2.2 Turnovers Per Game, 66.3 FG %, 52.5 FT%
Projected Draft Range: Top 3 Picks
At this point in time, Jahil Okafor seems like a consensus number one pick. He is strong, he has post moves, and he is somewhat mobile. He is currently averaging 18.3 points per game on 66.1% shooting and 9.4 rebounds per game. In the paint, he shoots 75%, a very impressive number for someone who gets double teamed so frequently.
Okafor rarely touches the ball outside the paint, getting 52% of his touches from post ups. This is significantly greater than other current NBA centers such as Dwight Howard (19.2%) or Marc Gasol (12.5%). Okafor has dominating skill and high power to get to the rim when given the ball in the post. Duke scores 1.3 points per possession just when Okafor gets a touch in the post. He is a very good passer, and can be very good working from the block. When receiving the ball in the paint, Duke scores 1.46 points per possession, and Okafor converts on 75% of his field goals in these situations. He uses his excellent hands, footwork, touch and dexterity to lead Duke to victories.
The one downside to Okafor would be his defensive play. While Okafor can make his presence felt, blocking 28 shots in 19 games, he has had some glaring lapses in his defensive effort this season. His average awareness and fundamentals don’t make Okafor the strongest defender. His ability to emerge as a rim-protector will play a large role in his NBA development. Okafor also struggles at the free-throw line, shooting a dismal 53.9% from the line while drawing fouls at a tremendous rate. While this won’t be something that will hinder Okafor’s career (see Shaquille O’Neal or Dwight Howard), if he doesn’t want to deal with hack strategies and leave free points on the table, Okafor will start practicing his free throws religiously.
I expect Okafor to have a impression with whatever team is lucky enough to draft him right away on the offensive side of the ball. His ability to finish and work in the post will immediately help him succeed at the NBA level. And I also believe, under the correct coach and the correct system, his defensive game will come along to a point where he can dominate on both sides of the ball for his career. This guy has stud written all over him.