Warriors Draft Pick Tournament Semifinals: #10 Devin Vassell vs #6 Onyeka Okongwu
Round Three, the choice for thee
Okay, welcome to the third round of the Warriors 2020 Draft Pick Tournament! I have added a few more scouting reports and comparisons since the first round.
I think this decision is going to be a real tough one, as both players have had massive support. Devin Vassell has made a cinderella run from the #10 seed. Will you support the 3-and-D wing Vassell? Or will you support the athletic defensive star big Okongwu?
Which of These Two Prospects Would You Rather The Warriors Draft?
We’ll present scouting reports, and you can vote at the end of this post. For details on how these prospects were selected and seeded, see the master tournament post.
Wizzy’s Comps: (per 40 similarity > 70) Zhaire Smith, DerMarr Johnson, Robert Woodard, Jason Richardson; (>66) Pat Connaughton, Kevin Porter Jr, Justin Anderson, Kevin Huerter, Xavier Henry
Wizzy’s Comps: (advanced similarity > 70) None. (>55) Zhaire Smith, Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Ross, Pat Connaughton, Reggie Bullock, Tyler Herro, Justin Anderson, Robert Woodard, Carrick Felix
NBADraftRoom Comp: Michael Redd, Kerry Kittles
(Graphic from Sports-Reference.com)
Vassell's numbers — 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game — don't jump off the screen, but that has more to do with playing at Florida State than anything else. The Seminoles had four players who averaged between 9.2 points and 12.7 points. So Leonard Hamilton's team was balanced at the top, possibly to the detriment of Vassell.
On the heels of his full-blown emergence as Florida State’s best player... He fits the much-discussed three-and-D archetype as well as anyone can, and that comes with an extremely attractive floor attached.
Vassell is a wiry wing who can jump, and in his case, the 3-and-D isn’t some far-off theoretical construct. He shot 41.7 percent from 3 at Florida State and is equally potent off the catch or the dribble, with a high release and great elevation when he shoots off the bounce. Meanwhile, he was a consistent lock-down defender with long arms, good feet and quick reactions.
The star potential here isn’t nearly as high as some of the players above, but he comes in with a really high floor at a position and role where teams fling $10M a year deals at even mediocre alternatives. He could be a plug-and-play starter for a decade.
SHADES OF: Khris Middleton, Robert Covington, Matisse Thybulle
Elite team defender who will immediately help any NBA rotation. Never stops hustling. Even when a play seems over, he’ll fly out of nowhere for a chase-down block or last-second deflection.
Good spot-up shooter with a high release. Tightened his handle to become a potent shooter off the bounce. Displays high-level passing vision for a wing, though he’s not a primary ball handler.
Lacks burst to beat defenders off the dribble, struggles to finish against contact. Wiry frame may limit his versatility against larger, stronger opponents.
He's an NBA-ready 3-and-D type wing who shot above 41% from 3-point range in each of his two college seasons, and he should be ready to step in and contribute defensively from Day One.
Playing for Leonard Hamilton, you can be sure he got plenty of reps switching defensively and guarding bigger and smaller players. He’s not much of a playmaker on the offensive end, and at 180 pounds, he definitely needs to add some weight to his frame.
He might be the best candidate in this draft class to help fill the defensive void the Warriors have felt since the loss of Andre Iguodala.
Per a league source, the Warriors like Vassell’s “3-and-D” potential enough that they’d consider taking him at the bottom of the top five — about a half-dozen spots above where he sits on most mock drafts. He also could be an option if Golden State decides to trade down to the mid-lottery.
He’s a terrific off-ball defender who racks of steals and even provides a bit of a presence as a weak-side shot-blocker. He’s really smart at contesting shots on-ball. And as an offensive player, Vassell averaged 13 points in a Florida State offense that spreads the wealth while shooting 41 percent from 3 and 49 percent from the field in general. He’s also a high-character kid that most teams trust to work on his game and keep improving. This wouldn’t exactly be a sexy pick. I think Vassell profiles best as a fifth starter on a good team who spaces the floor offensively and provides value on defense.
6. Onyeka Okongwu
Wizzy’s Comps: (per 40 similarity > 70) Stromile Swift, Anthony Davis, Isaiah Stewart, Rasheed Wallace, Derrick Favors, Bam Adebayo, Darrell Arthur, Brandan Wright, Chris Taft
Wizzy’s Comps: (advanced similarity > 70) Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, John Collins, Isaiah Stewart, Richaun Holmes
NBADraftRoom Comp: Bam, Tristan Thompson+
(Graphic from Sports-Reference.com)
Okongwu mostly operated off of the national radar this season because he played for an unranked team on the West Coast. But he was fantastic — averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 61.6% from the field. He's the main reason USC won 16 of its first 20 games and would've been in the NCAA Tournament.
Okongwu has been a divisive name in league circles, but his value at this point is pretty firmly entrenched somewhere between here [#9] and the mid first-round. Some struggle to see the upside while others place a high premium on his floor. Okongwu is a highly impactful player within seven feet of the rim, runs the floor well, and will be able to hang defensively and anchor smaller lineups without needing his number called.
Okongwu was awesome as a freshman and the only reason I don’t have him higher is that today’s game doesn’t value bigs as much. He still might be undervalued here [#4]. Relative to his position he’s arguably the best player in this draft, and in particular would seem to be an outstanding fit with the Golden State Warriors.
Since 2011-12, five major conference NCAA freshman have had a PER north of 30 and shot better than 70 percent from the line, an important indicator that they had enough skill to be something besides a ‘90s beast-ball 5 in the pros.
The first four were Anthony Davis, Cody Zeller, Karl-Anthony Towns and Deandre Ayton. Three of them were the first pick in the draft and the other one was picked [fourth] and has had a very solid pro career.
Okongwu is the fifth.
SHADES OF: Bam Adebayo, young Antonio McDyess, Taj Gibson
Excellent finisher with soft hands that catch tough passes, a pillowy touch around the rim, and the quick-leaping ability to score with power.
Good post scorer. Handles the ball like a wing. He makes slick passes, loves to throw outlets, and passes well out of the post. Does the little things: He hustles, screens well, rebounds all over the floor, and makes clutch plays.
Excellent pick-and-roll defender. He’s mobile and versatile, able to drop, switch, or hedge.
Inconsistent shooting mechanics from the field and the line. He’s slightly undersized for a center at 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. He also needs to get significantly stronger to contain elite post-up bigs like Joel Embiid.
PRO COMPARISON: Bam Adebayo
He’s athletic enough that being a switchable five seems like his floor. Worst-case scenario, Okongwu turns into an off-the-bench big that provides energy, rebounding and defense. If the jumper — and, especially, the passing — comes along, he can be much more than that.
Ethan Strauss and Evan Zamir, The Athletic:
Evan: Okongwu has been so dominant this year (at or near the top of my freshman stats rankings all season) and that was without the benefit of playing with a high-end point guard or much spacing around him. I just feel like he’s going to be a super solid center on both ends with some shooting potential. (He has great touch around the rim and on his hooks and shot 72 percent at the line.)
He’s also a confusing mix of qualities. The more I look, the trickier Okongwu is to completely figure out. Is he a throwback post-up center? Or is he a rim runner who guards positions 1 through 5? Is he a future 3-point threat, as his form and free-throw percentage might indicate?
In talks I’ve had with bored, quarantined NBA coaches who’ve done the scouting, questions of conditioning are raised. In their view, Okongwu tends to go all out until he burns out, like a marathoner who starts a race sprinting.
All in all, I just don’t think Okongwu’s productivity can be dismissed as something that’s only possible within the college game. Yes, he’s a post-up killer in a world that increasingly doesn’t need post-ups, but he gets his baskets quickly enough to keep a 24-second shot clock at bay. Also, he runs a beautiful pick-and-roll and shows promise as a shooter. Teams will rank him lower than James Wiseman because Wiseman has an obvious role as a center with archetypal size. Okongwu is something different, something a bit harder to project, but I’m buying the possibility.
He’s an absolutely terrific defender at the center position who would fit really well within an aggressive defensive scheme. His rim protection is extremely high level despite his relative lack of size for the center position due to his vertical pop. He’s a smart player offensively who generally would make sense within Steve Kerr’s offense. He can rim run, and he’s unselfish with some ability to short roll into the midrange, or to play in the dunker spot while Green pairs in screen and rolls with Curry. Okongwu was also extremely productive this year, averaging over 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks while shooting over 60 percent from the field.
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