Yesterday, we did features on both Jared Harper and Bryce Brown and a look at their NBA Draft prospects. Today, we’ll focus on Chuma Okeke.
I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite a long time. Auburn will have its 1st player drafted since the Indiana Pacers selected Jamison Brewer with the 41st pick back in 2001.
Okeke was Auburn’s best NBA prospect and while at times he seemed hesitant to take over games, when he did, it was a lot of fun to watch.
Chuma came to Auburn from the Atlanta area as a 4-star prospect at 6’7”, 225 pounds and won Mr. Basketball in the state of Georgia his senior season . Chuma spent his freshmen season at Auburn as the team’s 6th man, playing in all 34 games. He averaged 7.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and was a 39.1% 3-point shooter (34-87).
He moved into the starting lineup during his sophomore season and until his injury in the Sweet 16, he played and started in every game. This year, he averaged 12 points, 6.8 rebounds, and was a 38.7% 3-point shooter, although he took a lot more 3s this year (55-142). He also accounted for 73 assists, 69 steals and 46 blocks this season. He had 7 double-doubles this season. He had 19 points and 10 rebounds against Washington, 17 and 14 at Alabama, 18 and 13 in the SEC Championship against Tennessee and 20 and 11 in his final game against North Carolina.
You need a steal and some fast break points? Chuma can do that.
On the eve of the NBA Draft, I present great defense followed by a transition bucket for Chuma Okeke which put this game on ice back in February. pic.twitter.com/j1xA0etOph— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) June 20, 2019
In addition to his 3-point ability, Chuma’s a darn good defender too. pic.twitter.com/Umfhha1szv— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) April 1, 2019
You need a bucket in crunch time? He’s known for making a big shot or two.
There’s been a lot of great moments for Auburn on this run. This however got it all started and this, is the Play of the Year for Auburn. pic.twitter.com/PY3FGq8Egx— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) April 1, 2019
Chuma says night night South Carolina. pic.twitter.com/0LfUEnodDc— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) April 11, 2019
Where Chuma ends up being drafted is a great question.
Without the injury, Okeke was poised to become Auburn’s first 1st Round NBA Draft pick since Mamadou N’Diaye in 2000. But now, the best case looks to be for Chuma to be selected late in the 1st Round or early in the 2nd Round. I would say look for it in the 20-40 range. The 4 teams that I’ve seen him linked to the most are the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Golden State Warriors. Perhaps the Celtics roll the dice at either pick 20 or 22 knowing that other teams may be looking to grab him soon there after. The Warriors kind of sit at a crossroads with injuries to both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson but imagine a guy like Chuma eventually playing alongside Steph Curry. The 76ers may look for a guy that could fit a Tobias Harris type role in the future. The Celtics look to be losing Al Horford so another front-court presence that can shoot may be in their plans. Perhaps another team I haven’t mentioned yet takes a shot at Chuma, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens tonight.
Keep in mind that the 76ers have four 2nd round picks (33, 34, 42, 54) at the moment while the Hawks have a pair of 2nd rounders (35,41), so perhaps they take Chuma with one of their multiple picks in the draft.
Whoever ends up with Chuma is going to get a great player and a steal once he gets healthy. Okeke has all the tools to be a successful NBA player and I’m excited to see where he ends up. And as someone who personally doesn’t have an NBA team I’m crazy about, my future NBA fandom depends on what happens in Brooklyn tonight. While I’ve watched many NBA Drafts over the years, I’ve never been more excited for one than I am tonight. I can’t wait to see not only where Chuma goes, but Bryce Brown and Jared Harper as well. War Eagle to all 3 guys!