KZ Okpala - Draft Profile

In this latest instalment of draft profiles, I will be looking at KZ Okpala.

College Team: Stanford (Sophomore)

Position: Small Forward/Power Forward

Height: 6’8" – 6’9"

Wingspan: 7’2"

2018-19 Stats: Over 29 games in around 33min per game he averages 17pts, 6reb, .5blk, 1stl, 2ast at 46% FG, 37% 3P and 67% FT.

Projected Draft Spot: Mid 1st Rd - 2nd Rd.


Okpala is a scorer, and this will translate into the NBA. He can score From deep at a reasonable clip, and would provide a floor spacer on any team. He is also a slasher, where he attacks the rim with his speed and length. His mid-range game is almost exclusively limited to the short mid-range zone a few feet in from the charity stripe. In this way his game is very similar to Rudy Gay’s, and should be able to punish defensive break-downs by opponents much the same way Rudy does. If his offensive rebounding improves, then he may feast off of missed deep shots, where he gets a quick put-back, or a long rebound and then attacks the rim quickly.

He is a solid, but not great, defender. However, his speed, athleticism and length all are a foundation on which point to him become a plus defender given the right training and coaching staff. His rebounding is okay for someone with his height, length and athleticism, but not great.


Because KZ drives to the rim and attacks the lane against defenders a lot, he can be turnover prone as he doesn't take contact well. Okpala’s passing needs to improve, so that he doesn’t become an iso-dominant, ball stopper on offense – however, he has had several games this past season where he got 4-5 assists during the game, which shows room for potential growth in that area. While his shooting beyond the arc is solid, his free throw shooting needs to improve if he doesn’t want to become a liability at the line, especially considering he is a slasher on offence. He will also need to work on his deep mid-range shooting.

Okpala will need to add muscle and strength if he is going to play the 4 spot against the likes of Draymond Green and other strong solid 4/5 combo bigs, however his athleticism and length will help in defending the perimeter and quicker 3/4 combo players. It will also help him with his rebounding, which he will need to work on if he is to prove valuable at both ends of the court.

NBA Player Comparison: Rudy Gay, Brandon Ingram, Trevor Ariza, Tayshaun Prince, Walt Williams.

Fit with the Spurs:

Well the Spurs really need another wing, especially one that can play both ways. They also need more offensive fire-power to help Aldridge, DeRozan, White and Murray when one or more of them has an off night. KZ Okpala has that capability. He has the athleticism to run with the young guns in transition, as well as break down defences in the half court set. The big question would be, can he develop further as a defender, and area which the Spurs also need to address. If under the tutelage of Pop n Co he develops into an above average defender then he could be seen as a valuable find. There isn’t a plethora of great two-way wings floating around the NBA at the moment, and so the Spurs are more than likely going to have to develop one in-house. This means that with one of the two first round picks they will need to address this hole in their roster. I’m not so sure that he would be worth getting with the Spurs pick in the first (at 19th), he may be worth the Toronto pick, or even better – if he falls into the second round, trade up to get him there.


2019 Stanford Highlights

Game vs Arizona

Game vs UCLA

Game vs California

2019 Draft Junkies Profile

Next Profile: Daniel Gafford

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