Credit: Stanford Athletics

KZ Okpala Draft Profile

Breaking down the NBA potential of KZ Okpala

Soph. 6’9″ 215 SG/SF Stanford DOB: 4/28/99
16.8 ppg 5.7 rpg 2 apg FG: 46.3% 3 PT: 36.8%

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Recruiting Profile

Wingspan: 7’2″ 

NBA Comparison: Josh Jackson/Corey Brewer

Strengths: Shot Creation, Size, Length, Guard Skills, Athleticism

Weaknesses: Shot Selection, Strength, Quickness, Efficiency 

Okpala is a big wing with legitimate guard skills at 6’9″, who has shown the ability to score the basketball over his two seasons at Stanford. Using step backs and cross overs he created separation with ease on the college level, and he should be able to do this as a pro with no issue. He can back down smaller players and take bigger players off of the dribble, making his offensive game versatile. Overall his game allow hims to play as either a shooting guard or a small forward, and being able to play both positions should help allow him to earn early minutes at the next level. There will be no issue for Okpala to fit in as an athlete in the NBA, with his mobility and vertical both being solid. In the fast break he can slide out and hit a three pointer, or lead the break finishing at the basket. With the speed of the modern day NBA, Okpala’s overall offensive game translates very well to the next level. Most of his offensive production came on fast break opportunities and driving to the basket from the wing, while those are good skills to have he will need to be more comfortable as a shooter from the wing. Okpala rebounded well averaging 5.7 boards per game, but that number could be higher with his size and athletic ability if he focuses more on this aspect of the game. 

His shooting numbers at 36.8% on three point attempts and 46.3% from the field overall were not bad, but as mentioned before he needs to become more comfortable as a shooter. It is a small sample size with Okpala only attempting 3 deep balls per game as a sophomore, but as he looks to shoot the ball more often with higher usage he will need to be a more consistent shooter going forward. His shooting stroke is not the most fluid motion, and he could use some coaching in that area, but his mechanics are solid enough to not need a complete overhaul. With that said he has shown that he is capable of doing this, it will just need to be shown in games against the top competition that basketball has to offer. He will need to add strength to deal with some of the bigger wings in the league weighing just 215 pounds, especially with many of his points coming from driving to the basket. As a defender he has the length to disrupt from the wing, but his lack of quickness could cause some issues. There were many times where Okpala has struggled to stay in front of quicker players getting beat off of the dribble, and the level of athleticism at the next level only goes up. He has shown an ability to pass the ball and with the ball movement at the NBA level he will need to use this skill and look for his teammates when driving to the basket. 

This play shows his ability to make a move and get to the basket:

Here is another example of his athleticism:

Okpala is a lock to go in the first round, and he could go inside of the top ten if a team feels he has value that high. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level wing, providing above average scoring and using his length to become a solid perimeter defender. The worst case scenario for Okpala is that he is unable to increase his shooting efficiency and he struggles on the defensive side of the court causing him to be in a more limited role coming off of the bench. 

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