Former Auburn Tigers second-team All-American Jabari Smith was arguably the top prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft. It ranked as a minor surprise that he was still on the board with the third overall pick. In 2021-22, the 6-foot-10-inch power forward shot 42% from three-point range while averaging over seven rebounds per game.
His silky smooth mid-range game complements deep shooting capability. In addition, his defensive skill allows him to switch on that end of the floor. Smith, the 2022 SEC Freshman of the Year, joins fellow All-SEC performers Tari Eason and TyTy Washington as three Rockets first-rounders who could pay dividends for years to come.
Sophomore center Drew Timme is next in line to continue Gonzaga’s run of skilled big men, which includes NBA players Domantas Sabonis, Zach Collins, Brandon Clarke, Kelly Olynyk and Killian Tillie.
Timme is off to a hot start this season, averaging 26.5 points per game and eight rebounds, in two games against Auburn and Kansas. His dropstep and ability to finish with either hand puts defenders in an uncomfortable position. Like former Zag Rui Hachimura, Timme is a problem in the pinch post because he is quicker than most centers and stronger than most power forwards.
Last year, he was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team and WCC All-Tournament Team after playing in all 33 games. The NBA hopeful is already on his way to topping his stats from 2019-2020, when he scored double-digits in 16 games.
What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Okoro is a defensive specialist on the wing with an NBA-ready frame. The intelligence defensively stands out on tape. The Auburn freshman does a good job of playing a corner shooter while also contesting a drive to the rim (NC State ‘19). He also nearly averaged a steal and a block per game while playing just 31 minutes a contest. Offensively, his game is less developed however, Okoro shows the ability to finish with both hands and serve as a slasher to the rim. Possess body control to avoid charges and make shots at the rim (Davidson ‘19).
Weaknesses: The free throw shooting percentage could be better (67%), especially as much as the freshman drove to the rim, he can expect to be fouled at the next level (4.7 attempts per game). He doesn’t have a niche currently offensively and can get lost in the half court game, averaged two assists and two turnovers per game. Three point shooting percentage is low (29%). Had nine games with at least four fouls, if he fouled less could he have earned more minutes?
Attended McEachern High School (Ga.) and was rated as a four star prospect by ESPN and 247Sports. Was rated a five star prospect by Rivals.
Played for USA at the FIBA Under 17 Basketball World Cup in 2018 and averaged 4.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, en route to a gold medal. Also participated in the Nike Hoop Summit.
Named Second-Team All-SEC, SEC All-Defensive Team and SEC All-Freshman Team.
Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Okoro will help a team immediately with his intelligence defensively as well as his physicality on the wing. His frame and defense will remind scouts of Jimmy Butler but will he be able to improve his offensive game year over year like Butler? The answer to this question will determine Okoro’s long term NBA prospects.