At age 20, Elie Okobo has already appeared in 3 seasons of French professional basketball. As he’s been given more opportunity, his on-court production has increased each year. From the 2016-17 season to 2017-18, Okobo went from playing 13.8 minutes per game to 26.3. With the doubled workload, he more than doubled his production, going from 4.8 points and 1.6 assists per game to 12.8 points and 4.8 assists. On prospect rankings around the web, Okobo ranks anywhere from 19 according to the Ringer (where he draws comparisons to Deron Williams) to 38 on Sports Illustrated’s list.
Okobo already had a predraft workout with the Jazz on June 7. You can find his post-workout interview here.
2017-18 Europe Stats:
- Per game: 26.3 min, 12.9 pts, 4.8 ast, 2.8 reb, 0.9 stl, 2.7 tov, 39.4 3P %
- Per 36 minutes: 17.7 pts, 6.6 ast, 3.8 reb, 1.2 stl, 3.7 tov
- Age: 20
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 180 lbs
- Wingspan: 6’8”
Measurements per nbadraft.net
Okobo is a scorer. His shooting stroke from outside is smooth and he’s proficient in the midrange and finishing at the rim. He is just learning to play the point guard position, which makes his development in his assist numbers encouraging. He also has the physical tools and length to be a good defender at the position. His shooting showed in his workout with the Jazz:
Elie Okobo shot the best among the six prospects in the famous Jazz 100 drill, where draft hopefuls have to shoot the ball 100 times in a row from various spots around the 3-point line. https://t.co/5yGxKkjYsJ— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) June 7, 2018
Okobo’s skill was on full display in a May 23 playoff game for his Pau-Lacq-Orthez squad against Monaco. He finished with 44 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and shot a ridiculous 8-of-11 from the 3-point line.
Okobo’s turnovers could be an issue at the NBA level. His handle is currently much too loose and it leads to a lot of opportunities for opponents to strip the ball, and he attempts a lot of passes he shouldn’t. This was true playing in France, so I can only imagine the issue would get worse against NBA opposition. However, he’s just 20 and played mostly 2-guard growing up according to the Ringer’s scouting report, so some growing pains are expected as he continues to adapt to playing the point.
While he has the physical tools to be a good defender, he lacks the discipline. When focused, he’s a good on-ball defender, but his basketball IQ for team defense leaves a lot to be desired and he sometimes struggles to get around screens.
Utah Jazz Fit?
If there’s one thing the Jazz need it’s scoring and Okobo has that. However, frankly, Utah doesn’t really need a point guard right now. At least, not one that needs to contribute right away. With Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum (assuming the latter is retained) on the roster, Okobo would be at best the third-string point guard, and that’s even if he came over to the NBA immediately which is unknown. Okobo might end up being a good NBA player down the road, but if the Jazz are looking for immediate impact, the odds of them taking him at No. 21 are pretty low.