ELIE OKOBO 2018 NBA Draft Scouting Report
COLLEGE: NO COLLEGE/INTERNATIONAL PROSPECT PLAYING IN FRANCE
WEIGHT: 180 POUNDS
POSITION: POINT GUARD
CLASS: NOT IN COLLEGE- 21-YEARS OLD
PROJECTED DRAFT POSITION: EARLY TO MIDDLE OF SECOND ROUND
If discussing a French guard entering the NBA Draft is giving you déjà vu, don’t worry: you’re not the only one. Just one year after Frank Ntilikina was selected with the 8th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, 20-year old point guard Elie Okobo has officially put his name into this year’s NBA Draft.
Okobo is coming off a season where he averaged 12.8 points per game for Pau-Orthez in France; the team plays in the Pro A league, which happens to be one of the most competitive leagues in all of Europe. Okobo also shot 47 percent shooting from the field, 38 percent from three, and 81 percent from the free throw line, while adding 4.5 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 26 minutes per game.
As a member of the French team at the FIBA U20 European Championship held in Greece last year, Okobo drew the interest of NBA scouts when he helped lead his team to a bronze medal. Because of his success in said tournament, he was elevated to the official French national basketball team, and was a member of the French team when they played in the most recent FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
At 6’3, Okobo is a cat-quick guard whose dribble looks like he has the ball on a string. He’s very adept at being able to turn the corner on his defender, penetrate a defense, and keep the ball well positioned for his final move all the while.
But while he’s darn good at it, Okobo is not just a slasher. He has no problem pulling up from the outside and hitting a shot, which makes him an intriguing fit for an NBA team, because he’s equally adept at running the pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop. And of course, if teams try to clog the lane such that they won’t give him any opportunities to create for his teammates, Okobo can simply pull up and drill it from outside as well.
In fact, because of his combo guard-like style of play, except with the handle, vision, and play-making instincts of a true point guard, Okobo’s style of play draws the loftiest comparisons to that of Russell Westbrook.
But such comparisons end at the fact that, like many players born overseas, there is the question as to whether Okobo has the athleticism and explosion needed to play against the elite athletes of the NBA. He’ll be able to get by being craftier than many of his opponents, but considering the fact that he’ll only turn 21 years old when this year’s NBA season starts, there won’t be a lot of tricks up his sleeve that other NBA veterans — whom he’ll be tasked with playing against each night — haven’t seen already.
Okobo’s short-term impact will certainly be his ability to come off the bench and provide “microwave offense” for a team’s second unit, especially given his ability to shoot the ball and set up his teammates at the same time. However, he’s going to require the right nurturing to better develop his overall basketball IQ, and the way he sees the game. We believe Okobo will be selected anywhere from the beginning of the 2nd round to pick number 45 in the 2018 NBA Draft. He has the ability to turn into a solid back-up NBA point guard.
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