(First posted at RealGM)
Josh Okogie was the 182nd-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class.
In two seasons at Georgia Tech, the 19-year-old accumulated 2,014 minutes of college basketball experience. But other than that, he has just 90 minutes at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge and 93 minutes defending the United States National Team at the 2017 U17 FIBA World Cup under his belt.
Most recently, the six-foot-four off guard averaged 20 points per 40 minutes on 55% true shooting and compiled a 21.3 PER in 24 appearances last season.
Okogie logged 27% usage-rate and had the opportunity to show a somewhat diverse skill-set in terms of the ways he can contribute to an offense; bringing up the ball to trigger motion offense, isolating out of ball reversals and late in the shot clock, curling off pindown screens, attacking off dribble hand-offs and spacing the floor on spot-ups. He took about a third of his shots from each of the three levels and was assisted on less than half of his field-goals.
The native of Lagos, Nigeria had the chance to showcase his versatility on the other end as well, as Georgia Tech often ran a matchup zone that tested its players’ recognition skills and switched a little more aggressively towards the end of the season. Okogie impressed with his ability contribute as a help defender, especially in rim protection, but his individual defense was only so-so, which is somewhat disappointing for someone with his physical profile.
Okogie measured really well and turned up his intensity during the scrimmages at the 2018 Combine, though. And after a strong showing in Chicago, he appears to have consolidated his status as a late first rounder, unless the grade 1 right adductor strain he suffered while working out for the Grizzlies turns out to be a bigger problem than it’s currently known.
Okogie doesn’t stay in a stance off the ball but proved to be attentive to his responsibilities rotating in to crowd the lane and coming off the weak-side to aid in rim protection as a shot blocking threat. He can leap off two feet in a pinch without any struggle and has an eight-foot-six standing reach that is above average for someone his height – averaging 1.1 blocks per 40 minutes last season.
As Georgia Tech often screwed up the follow/pass it up exchanges in their matchup zone, Okogie flashed the recognition skills to step up on the fly and pick up a dribble driver when a teammate got beat. Not consistently, but more than a few times. He also showed a knack for using his seven-foot wingspan to get into passing lanes – averaging 1.9 steals per 40 minutes.
Okogie didn’t often run the shooter off his shot on closeouts but can contest very effectively due to his length. And when the opponent did put the ball on the floor, he proved he is able to stay balanced and move his feet laterally to stay attached.
His contributions pitching in on the glass were good but not particularly impressive, as he collected 13.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor over his time at Georgia Tech.
Okogie didn’t always bend his knees to get down in a stance and mixed moments of higher intensity with low energy defending on the ball. But when he turned it, he showed he has multiple lateral slides in him to stay in front in isolation, can leverage his reach to try getting strips and use the strength in his thick 210-pound frame to contain dribble penetration through contact.
Against smaller players, he struggled to slide cleanly over picks at the point of attack but hustled back in pursuit to block, challenge or deflect shots and passes from behind.
That struggle negotiating screens cleanly also materialized when Okogie was tasked with chasing shooters and he lost his man from time-to-time.
Picking up bigger players on switches, he impressed with his tenacity attempting to front the post and prevent an easy entry. But while he was attentive to put a body on the opponent under the glass, Okogie wasn’t all that physical with his box-outs and more active big men didn’t have much trouble rebounding against him.
Catch-and-shoot jumpers off weak-side spot-ups are his most efficient way to contribute on offense at this point of his development.
He shoots almost a set shot, getting very little elevation, and has a low release, launching the ball out in front. His trigger also has plenty of room to get sped up. But his compact mechanics are pretty fluid and his touch is nice.
Okogie nailed 38% of his 173 three-point shots in his two years at Georgia Tech. But he is only an open shot shooter for now, taking long bombs at a pace of just 3.4 such attempts per 40 minutes. That rate went up to 4.6 last season but is still below average for someone who projects as a wing in the pros.
Okogie hasn’t yet developed a dynamic enough release to be leveraged as a threat to make shots on the move but his 77.7% foul shooting on 403 foul shots does create the expectation that he will continue to be at least a capable set shooter as he moves up a level.
OFF DRIBBLE OFFENSE
He operated off the bounce curling off pindown screens at the top, sprinting to the ball for dribble hand-offs in the high post area and in isolation on the side of the floor out of ball reversals or against a set defense in emergency situations late in the shot clock.
Georgia Tech didn’t offer great spacing, as it ranked 341st in the country in the three-point shots and 325th in three-point shooting, so a good chunk of his work off the dribble ended up in pull-up jumpers.
Okogie doesn’t have a lot of shiftiness but managed to create good separation for his step-back fadeaway pull-ups by going between the legs into his step-back or leaning into his man to push him off without extending his arm. He struggled on stop-and-pop jumpers, though, due to his low release. Defenders with NBA-caliber length like Theo Pinson and Bruce Brown blocked his attempts to shoot over them.
Okogie missed 70 of his 99 two-point shots away from the rim last season.
But he managed to battle adverse conditions and get all the way to the basket a fair amount. Okogie is not very fast with the ball and doesn’t have a deep set of dribble moves to work his defender off balance but relies on his strength to bully his way forward against similarly sized players and has a low dribble to protect the ball reasonably well in traffic – taking 37.8% of his shots at the rim and averaging 7.4 free throws per 40 minutes last season.
He can use his length to over-extend around rim protectors and flashed the ability to finish with his left hand as well but can’t hang in the air and struggled scoring in a crowd for the most part – converting just 54.5% of his 121 shots at the rim.
Okogie brought the ball up to trigger motion offense from time-to-time but wasn’t put in the pick-and-roll a whole lot. That said, when he did get a ball screen, he showed glimpses of appealing court vision.
Other than executing basic drop-offs and kick-outs to the strong-side off deep dribble penetration, he flashed the ability to make well-timed pocket passes and passes over the top to the roll man – assisting on 14.9% of Georgia Tech’s scores when he was on the floor last season.
There is a chance more than a few teams view him as a point guard prospect, or at least as the sort of wing who might be able to develop the ability to run offense in a pinch and unlock jumbo personnel in the perimeter.
 DOB: 9/1/1998
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara