Onyeka Okongwu makes us all Atlanta Hawks fans — that’s putting it nicely. Anytime you watched a USC Trojans men’s basketball game this past season, you were sure to see the big man dominating, and now we’ll be able to witness him dominating the NBA after he was drafted sixth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Hawks.
Okongwu heads to an Atlanta team with star Trae Young among others and was later joined by Skylar Mays from the LSU Tigers.
Our friends over at Peachtree Hoops — SB Nation’s Atlanta Hawks site — had this to say about Mays:
You’ll be hard pressed to find an offensive weakness for Mays, who shot a career-high 39% from three as a senior. Nearly a quarter of his usage was as a pick-and-roll ball handler, where he was dangerous in the SEC.
So what does the situation look like for Okongwu as he heads to Atlanta? First things first, it’s the fact that the Hawks had a wide variety of players to choose from, most ‘higher ranked’ on big boards than Okongwu. The Hawks, however, were comfortable with Okongwu at No. 6 overall, and their brass thinks he can improve his shooting from further than the free throw line.
“He’s an unbelievable person,” said Schlenk of Okongwu. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve said character is at the top of our list, and he certainly checks that box in a big way.”
Schlenk added that he thinks Okongwu can tap more into the shooting touch he’s displayed from the free throw line, moving further away from the basket to three-point range.
“He’s a good free throw shooter, so we think with time he’s going to be able to extend his range,” continued Schlenk on the new draft pick. “He’s got unbelievable hands, he catches everything. He’s got the seven-foot wingspan and he can run the floor, so we’re really excited about him.”
There’s plenty more to unpack here — but again — our friends at Peachtree Hoops did an amazing job at breaking it all down. Take a look for yourself:
Congratulations again Big O!