Ceiling: Khris Middleton
Floor: Danny Green
Ochai Agbaji is one of the oldest players in the NBA draft yet he is still considered a late lottery pick. The 6’5, 22 year old shooting guard capped off his last season at Kansas by winning the Big 12 Player of the Year, unanimous All-Big 12 First Team, Big 12 scoring title (at 18.8ppg), and last but certainly not least the NCAA Tournament Championship and Player of the Tournament titles. In short, Agbaji dominated throughout the entire season and postseason. Though many expected him to commit to the draft last year, he improved significantly in this extra year by continuing to improve his driving and shooting (shooting a tick over 40% for the first time.) Agbaji is well sized for the NBA with a 6’10 wingspan for a guard, helping him become one of the better defenders in college basketball. Overall, Agbaji is one of the safest picks in the late lottery to mid-first round, because of his skill-set that is easily transferable to the pros.
There are very few cons to Agbaji’s game, however the main knock is his ball handling and ability to score off the dribble, and the slight tendency to disappear in bigger games. Those do go hand in hand as there have been countless times in which the Jayhawks needed a bucket from Agbaji and they couldn’t simply let him work in isolation. Though he did win player of the tournament in the NCAA Tournament he was not as involved as he was throughout the regular season, but the extra attention that was given to him made it so that his teammates could succeed.
NBA Best Fit
Since he is projected to go in the mid to late first round, I could see Agbaji going to both the Hawks at the 16th pick as they are looking for a secondary option to Trae Young, or to the Spurs as a veteran presence on a relatively inexperienced team. San Antonio has the 9th and 20th pick, he will most likely be able to fall to 20, but they could take him at the 9th pick if they’re afraid of him being poached before their 20th pick comes along. Agbaji would provide a good secondary option behind Dejounte Murray after his breakout year. He would provide good consistent shooting to a team that finished 4th-to-last in average threes made per game, as well as a good, long, disciplined defensive guard. For Atlanta, Ochai will be able to fill the role that De’Andre Hunter will inevitably leave as he is in the last year in his contract. At his floor Agbaji will be an above average 3-and-D player, but I expect him to be a lot more than that.