With the 2020 NBA Draft a little over a month away, time is running out for the Golden State Warriors. While initial speculation pointed at them selecting James Wiseman with their second overall pick, the Warriors have been linked with many other players since. Several NBA rumors have also suggested their intention to move down the draft. If the Golden State Warriors intend to draft a center though, they must consider USC Trojans' Onyeka Okongwu.
NBA Draft 2020: Onyeka Okongwu a perfect match for Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are expected to challenge for a title next season. If they decide to draft someone instead of flipping their pick for a veteran, they would be better off selecting a player who's already come a long way in development. Onyeka Okongwu fits the bill just fine in this regard. Okongwu managed 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks across 28 games for USC.
Standing at 6'9 with a 7'2 wingspan, Okongwu is easily one of the better defenders in the 2020 NBA Draft Class and potentially the second-best rim protector behind James Wiseman. His lateral quickness and feel for the game allow the USC Trojan to play at both the four and five while holding his own against the opponent. This versatility is something that the Golden State Warriors appreciate.
Onyeka Okongwu is clearly not the best shooter of the ball but he doesn't need to be one if representing the Warriors. In any case, he has shown a soft touch from the free-throw line and that suggests that he's likely to improve his range over the course of his career.
NBA Draft 2020: Why Onyeka Okongwu is a better fit for Golden State Warriors than James Wiseman
In terms of raw talent, James Wiseman seems like a better option. He's a better rim protector and rebounder of the ball. He's stronger than Onyeka Okongwu too. But here's the thing, he merely played three games before he was suspended by the NCAA so at this point he's more of a project.
Okongwu will enter the NBA with a higher floor. He has a higher basketball IQ than Wiseman, a better shot, and unwavering commitment on both ends of the floor, meaning he'll impact winning more. But since upside is rewarded more in the NBA Draft, Wiseman is expected to be a consensus top-five pick while Okongwu is expected to be taken up anywhere from the fourth pick till the 10th.
This opens up another possibility for the Golden State Warriors. They can move down the 2020 NBA Draft to select Onyeka Okongwu and stockpile some assets in the process. A lower pick in the NBA Dr would also mean a lower salary burden for the Warriors, who'll save on luxury tax.
Published 14 Oct 2020, 20:00 IST