Wolves 2018 NBA Draft grade roundup
The NBA draft is over and the Minnesota Timberwolves got their men — Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie and Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop.
The draft grades for Minnesota’s selections are in and the overall consensus is the Wolves did a very good job.
We found five grades in the A range for Okogie while those who also graded second-round picks were highly favorable in the choice of Bates-Diop (who some had mocked to Minnesota in the first round).
Obviously we might need a few years to see the true impact, but unlike other sports, in the NBA players are most often looked at to come in and make an impact as a rookie (see: Karl-Anthony Towns).
Nevertheless, it’s always fun to see what people thought of the picks. That being said, here’s a listing of 13 grades we culled from around the internet with the overall GPA listed at the bottom.
Jeremy Woo of SI.com: A-. “Minnesota, and Tom Thibodeau in particular, loves tough, athletic perimeter players, and that’s exactly what Okogie is. He offers a lot more upside than some of the guys in this part of the draft. Although he will require some polish to reach his full potential, given the Wolves’ need for a defensive-minded player to take some pressure off their stars, he fits that bill nicely. It’s possible he can evolve into a starting-caliber guard as he continues to slow the game down and tap into his talent.”
Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer: B. “Okogie is exactly the type of player the Wolves need. Tom Thibodeau didn’t overthink this pick. The Georgia Tech sophomore is a big-bodied wing (6-foot-5 and 211 pounds, with a 7-foot wingspan) who should be able to defend three positions right away, and he can make enough 3s to keep himself on the floor on offense. The only reason Okogie won’t be playing 25-plus minutes a night next season will be that Thibs has decided to bury yet another young player behind more familiar veterans.”
Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation: A. “I’m a big Okogie fan, who I listed as one of my top sleepers in this class. He’s a high-motor defensive wing at 6’4 with a 7-foot wingspan, and he also hit 38 percent of his threes in each of his first two years at Georgia Tech.”
Reid Forgrave of CBSSports.com: B+. “Okogie was kind of hidden on a mediocre college team, but he wowed at the NBA Draft Combine. He has all the tools to be a standout role player or even more, and he probably is among the best upside picks left. We’re now wondering when Robert Williams will get picked, though.” Round 2 grade: A. “My favorite pick of the second half of the second round. Bates-Diop could play right away for the Timberwolves. He fits next to Karl-Anthony Towns. He’s tough, skilled and proven.”
Michael Singer of USA Today: C+. “Okogie’s a psychical, versatile defender who’ll take time to develop his offensive game with the T-Wolves. With that said, who better to learn from than Jimmy Butler?”
Chris Stone of The Sporting News: A. “The frequent subject of consternation, Tom Thibodeau got this one right! At 6-4 with a lengthy wingspan and strong frame, Okogie is just what the Timberwolves needed to add to their roster. The Georgia Tech product projects most immediately as a 3-and-D wing. He shot 38.2 percent from deep while averaging 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per 40 minutes as a college player. Slotting in Okogie at the shooting guard spot while playing Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler at the forward positions will be a very interesting option for Minnesota.” Round 2 grade: B+. “This is a positive pickup for Minnesota. Bates-Diop has an opportunity to help modernize the Timberwolves frontcourt by providing length and shooting at the power forward position. His lengthy wingspan allows him to shoot over the top of opponents. His defensive acumen remains a concern. Nice value here.”
David Kay of WalterFootball.com: D-. “I’m watching the draft with my buddy, Kyle, who is a big time Timberwolves fan, and this was his reaction: “WHO?… WTF?” For the record, I know who Okogie is, but I agree with the “WTF” part. I had Okogie as a second-round prospect but he’s a 3-and-D type player which makes sense why a Thibs-run team would reach for him.” Round 2 grade: A.
Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune: B-. “Okogie is one of the better athletes in the draft, and someone who can defend and get out and run in transition. The Wolves are losing Jamal Crawford and are short on wings who can defend beyond Jimmy Butler. Okogie projects as a natural fit there.”
Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report: A. “Though he could find success as a cutter and has potential to develop into a spot-up threat, he’s a first-round prospect because of his well-rounded work on the preventing end. Need an off-ball stop? He’s always focused and excels at denying the ball to team’s leading scoring threats. Moreover, he knows when to rotate away from his assignment and should rack up deflections at the next level. Buoyed by a 7’0″ wingspan and quick-twitch instincts that lead to advanced levels of defensive awareness, he may be even better in on-ball scenarios. Okogie may be the antithetical wing to Andrew Wiggins, and that’s exactly what Minnesota needs.” Round 2 grade: B+. “Even if his shooting stroke doesn’t go with him from Columbus, Ohio, to Minneapolis, he has the tools necessary to contribute in a plethora of areas and become a convincing glue guy for the second unit.”
Okogie GPA: 3.14 (for what it’s worth a 3.41 without that D-)
Bates-Diop GPA: 3.65
(Note: A few people just gave an overall team grade for both picks, which we decided to separate and not include in the individual GPA.)
Zack Rosenblatt of NJ Advance Media: B. “Okogie was a good pick and should bring some valuable shooting and depth on the wing, while Bates-Diop was an absolute steal at No. 48.”
Steve Alexander of Rotoworld: C.
Logan Mullen of NESN: B+ “When asked to compare himself to an NBA player months ago, Okogie went with Jimmy Butler. Fitting. He brings plenty of energy and grit to the wing and appears to have an insane drive to be successful, which bodes well for his NBA prospects.”
Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns