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Front Office Writers Joe Heisman NBA Sports

KZ Okpala 2019 NBA Draft Profile

The 2019 NBA Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft. Stanford wing KZ Okpala didn’t get a lot of publicity in college, but is still a highly-regarded prospect.

Background

Position: Forward

Class: Sophomore

2018-2019 stats: 16.8 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 2.0 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, 0.5 blocks per game, 46.3% field goal, 36.8% 3 point

Size: 6-foot-9, 215 pounds

Okpala was a top 50 prospect in the recruitment class of 2017 and decided to play his collegiate basketball at Stanford. As a Cardinal, Okpala wasn’t often on prime time television, but his game has done a lot of talking, making him a potential first-round pick.

As a freshman, Okapala averaged 10 points per game, starting in 21 games. To go along with averaging double-figures in points, Okpala demonstrated some good defense as well. Okpala raised his level of play as a sophomore, as he put up 16.8 points per game. Stanford was unable to make the NCAA Tournament in Okpala’s two seasons, but that was not because of his play.

His team may not have had success at the college level, but Okpala refined his game over his two seasons at Stanford. He will likely be a mid to late first round pick now in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Strengths

His size and length will be some of his biggest assets heading into the NBA. He stands 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, which will allow him to match up with any wing in the NBA from a height and length perspective. With his size, Okpala could play the small forward position or a small-ball power forward and be able to fit in.

Okpala is a great athlete, especially given his size. He should be able to get to the basket on offense, which is because of his athleticism. His athleticism should allow him to guard multiple positions on the perimeter, meaning teams can switch on screens more often.

He doesn’t have the best shot from deep, but he has shown improvement in this area in his college career. Okpala raised his 3-point percentage over by over 14 percent from his freshman to his sophomore year. Shooting 36.8 is a good start to his improvement, but he’ll need to improve more for the NBA.

Weaknesses

Okpala does not protect the ball well, as he averaged 2.9 turnovers per game. This gives him a negative assist to turnover ratio. He was a matchup problem in college, but in the NBA there will be players who can match his size and length, which could result in more turnovers. Okpala will have to be more decisive with the ball at the next level.

While he has the body and athleticism to be a good defender, Okpala has a lot of work to do on the defensive end. He got beat a fair amount in college and could have trouble dealing with quickness. If he remains focused and uses his length to his advantage, he should be able to develop into a good defender.

His size and length are great, but Okpala will need more strength to fill out his frame. He is skinny, at just 215 pounds. Okpala has added strength already, but will need to continue to do so, otherwise he may get bullied by bigger players in the NBA. His body won’t be NBA-ready the minute he walks into the NBA, but if he hits the weight room, Okpala should be able to fill out his frame.

 

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