2.) Kezie (KZ) Okpala, Forward: (16.8ppg, 5.7rpg, 2apg, 46.3fg%, 36.8 3p%, 67.1 ft%)
The NBA has historically been (and still is) dominated by athletic, skilled, and effectively versatile wing players: from Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen to Lebron James, Giannis, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, etc. Thus, Okpala’s 6’9.5” frame and 7’2” wingspan makes him a promising wing prospect at the next level.
The Stanford forward not only has showcased his skills in finishing the above-the-rim, but KZ also possesses a high motor in the transition game- where he excels in handling, finishing, and facilitating in the open court.
In addition to running the floor well, his natural feel for the game is witnessed in his great passing ability within the flow of the offense (although when forced to make impromptu difficult passing decisions, it frequently results in inaccurate passes and turnovers).
Besides his inconstant passing capabilities, KZ Okpala’s unflattering .70 AST/TO rate is bolstered by his propensity to attack the glass with very loose ball handles- resulting in defensive strips and wasted offensive possessions.
When Okpala decides to shoot the rock instead, he is inconsistent at best. However, KZ shows the willingness and aptitude to improve with the necessary coaching and attention (he shot an abysmal 23% from the free throw line as a freshman and nearly 37% this past season).
On the defensive side of the ball, Okpala’s potential is witnessed through his lateral quickness and agility for his size: a long, athletic wing who effortlessly switched onto most 2’s and 3’s, but was badly exposed by faster guards with great handles. Most of this can be attributed to his poor defensive mechanics which often resulted in him having a poor defensive stance and being flat-footed.
Lastly, weighing in at approximately 210 pounds, KZ’s current lanky structure was often exposed on defense by stronger forwards, limited his ability to finish in traffic on offense, and hampered his rebounding abilities on both sides of the floor. But make no mistake, KZ Okpala -with the right conditioning- will grow and add muscle to his promising frame.