Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie (5) drives towards the basket during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Georgia, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 in Athens, Ga. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)
Photo: Joshua L. Jones/AP
Photo: Joshua L. Jones/AP

Hawks draft workout report: Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech

Josh Okogie

School: Georgia Tech 

Age: 19 

Class: Sophomore 

Height: 6-4, 213 (measured) 

ESPN draft ranking: 50th 

Okogie was the top-rated prospect among the six who worked out for the Hawks on Monday. He’s also accepted an invite to the NBA scouting combine next week. Okogie is an early-entry candidate for the draft but has maintained his eligibility to return to Tech by the May 30 deadline. projects Okogie as the No. 44 overall pick 

“I feel like I have the potential to be a first-round pick,” Okogie said. “That’s what I’m shooting for. With the information I’m getting, after this combine we will determine if I am OK with it.” 

Okogie is an NBA prospect because of his length, athleticism and production as a 3-point shooter and wing defender at Georgia Tech. So-called “three-and-D” wings are valued in the NBA. Okogie is a bit short to play small forward but his measured wingspan (7-foot) is excellent for his size so some teams may project him to play minutes alongside point guards and shooting guards. 

“Physically, I feel like I’m there,” Okogie said. “I feel like I can make an impact. That’s why I’m doing this process, just to see where I’m at.” 

During his second season at Tech, Okogie was a high-volume 3-point shooter with 38 percent accuracy (38-for-100). His 3-point percentage ranked 23rd among qualified players in the ACC, according to Okogie’s 82.1 percent free throw shooting in 2017-18 bodes well for his pro prospects because that number correlates with NBA 3-point shooting. 

“That (NBA) line is pretty far back but it’s muscle memory,” Okogie said. 

Okogie also is excellent at drawing fouls, raking eighth in the ACC in free-throw attempt rate per Kenpom. But Okogie shot just 41.6 percent on 2-pointers in large part because of trouble finishing around the basket, something that’s more difficult in the NBA because of the length of big men. Okogie said he’s working on developing a floater to finish over bigs near the basket. 

Okogie has very good potential as an NBA defender. He’s been an excellent shot blocker for his position in both seasons at Tech. This past season he ranked 24th in block percentage in the ACC, including tops among non-big men. Okogie’s steals percentage ranked eighth in the ACC in 2017-18. 

Okogie has been an excellent spot-up shooter for Tech but he could improve his NBA stock by increasing his offensive versatility. In college he’s able to make up for his poor efficiency on 2-point shots by making 3-pointers and earning free throws. But that will be tougher to do in the NBA because defenders are bigger, laterally quicker and close out space on 3-point shooters faster. 

Okogie also could benefit from showing that he can be effective as a pick-and-roll ball-handler — Okogie played some point guard for Tech this past season but it didn’t go well. Okogie scored 0.75 points per possession on 52 plays used as the pick-and-roll ball-handler, according to Synergy Sports. A very good free-throw rate on those plays was offset by a low effective field-goal percentage (39.4) and high turnover percentage (21.2). 

“Everybody likes my motor,” Okogie said. “I can go all day. One of the things I need to improve on is creating my own shot. I’ve improved greatly on that, but you can never get too good at anything.”

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About the Author

Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.