2020 NBA Draft

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Los Angeles
I said dominant big man. Clint Capela is not dominant. Anthony Davis, KAT, Jokic, Embiid, all have faceup and outside games. Clint Capela was traded away because he hurt the Rockets offense because he can't shoot. His offensive box plus minus is -1.0. Andre Drummond was traded for peanuts because he can't shoot.

This means without shooting, dominant rim protection or switchablity, which Kofi has none of right now, he is not a lotto pick let alone a 1st rounder.

The NBA has changed guys, this isn't year 2000.

And I'm not talking about "dominant" big men. I'm talking about Kofi's role in the league. You'll find scores of posts in this thread about how there is none in less he learns a face up game, which is flat out false.

Edit: I probably should have quoted another post. Your point stands.
 
If anybody tells you all bigs can shoot/there's no place in the league for bigs that can't face up, that person is merely indicating to you they don't actually watch NBA basketball.
Definitely would agree with this, I guess I just haven't seen Kofi show that he really fits that mold, hence why I've emphasized his need to develop stretchiness to his game. His 38" vertical has been bandied about on here but he doesn't look close to that bouncy, and my hunch is his wingspan isn't as long as it's been claimed. I think you need at least one of those traits to be a good rim-running center in the NBA. Either you're Brandon Clarke (not a center, I know, but plays that rim-running role) with an average wingspan but massive bounce or you're more Gobert-like (obviously he's a freak of nature) with less bounce but crazy length. But, I certainly agree with you that teams with lots of guard/wing talent only really need a good pick and roll/rim-running big to be successful (I'm thinking of the Celtics, for example).

I'll be very interested to see Kofi's measurements at the draft combine, whenever he makes it there. Wingspan is viewed as so critical these days -- it's the reason Clarke slid in the draft, although that was clearly a mistake. Hopefully I'm wrong but I think Kofi's wingspan is a big reason his block percentage is less than half that of Jaxson Hayes, Mo Bamba, JJJ, and even (not to that degree) a guy like Wendell Carter.
 
Springfield
Just my two cents but from watching the shot blocks from both players, I would say that Meyers Leonard has a vertical almost a foot higher than Kofi. He swatted a few that seemed to be above the top of the backboard. He also had a nice stroke. Kofi can move folks around in the low block more easily but seems to need a dribble or two to get it done, giving guards the opportunity to whisk the ball away. With better footwork and keeping the ball above his shoulders, he will finish more often. He does have a decent shot but will have to work hard to become money from 15 ft. with it which likely will not happen during his Illini tenure.
 
Kofi's only been playing for 3 years and here we are talking about him being a lottery pick? LOL

Just watch him play. He doesn't know wtf he's doing out there (relatively speaking, basketball-wise).
This is not a knock on him. NOBODY can play basketball for just 3 years and pick up on the nuances of the game, let alone develop the fundamentals.
He has neither. He shoots good free throws. That's it. It's only because of his size/strength that he's been able to have success to an extent so far.

I'm not sure he will ever (edit: deserve to ) be a lottery pick, but maybe he could get into the first round in a year or two if he continues to work his butt off.
Meyers Leonard was a far superior player at this stage. It's not even close. It's laughable to even suggest otherwise. I remember watching a video of ML in high school JUMPING OVER a kid on a fast break. ML was kinda freakish.

edit: not to sound too harsh on Kofi. I'm a huge fan of his and love his effort and unique physical gifts. But he's got to learn the game still and only time will do that. He's got potential.
I agree with your overall sentiment that Kofi needs time to improve, but the bolded isn't accurate. There are plenty of big strong centers and forwards in college basketball who don't make a big impact or regularly get double doubles. Believe it or not, Kofi actually posses legitimate basketball skills. He is fairly raw, and he needs to be more consistent, but he isn't some big body who just gets by on that. There are other things that Kofi does really well that's helped him succeed - Considering his experience and size, his ability to stay out of foul trouble (for the most part) is exceptional. That's a skill. He's made some really good passes out of the post. Skill. Sometimes he bobbles balls, other times he catches lasers with ease. He has legitimate shot-blocking skills, and that isn't something you are necessarily good at just because you're big. And of course the kid has a great motor and has nothing to do with size or strength.
 
Players of his size and type were often drafted early on potential in years past. (Myers Leonard) NBA seems to be going away from the bigman around the basket dominating the game. If you can’t stretch the floor by shooting the three, or move well enough to guard the screen on the ball, you can’t be on the floor. I think we will have Kofi for a while.
 
Los Angeles
Definitely would agree with this, I guess I just haven't seen Kofi show that he really fits that mold, hence why I've emphasized his need to develop stretchiness to his game. His 38" vertical has been bandied about on here but he doesn't look close to that bouncy, and my hunch is his wingspan isn't as long as it's been claimed. I think you need at least one of those traits to be a good rim-running center in the NBA. Either you're Brandon Clarke (not a center, I know, but plays that rim-running role) with an average wingspan but massive bounce or you're more Gobert-like (obviously he's a freak of nature) with less bounce but crazy length. But, I certainly agree with you that teams with lots of guard/wing talent only really need a good pick and roll/rim-running big to be successful (I'm thinking of the Celtics, for example).

I'll be very interested to see Kofi's measurements at the draft combine, whenever he makes it there. Wingspan is viewed as so critical these days -- it's the reason Clarke slid in the draft, although that was clearly a mistake. Hopefully I'm wrong but I think Kofi's wingspan is a big reason his block percentage is less than half that of Jaxson Hayes, Mo Bamba, JJJ, and even (not to that degree) a guy like Wendell Carter.
Lots of good points. I would hypothetically put him in the mold of Steven Adams.
 
I agree with your overall sentiment that Kofi needs time to improve, but the bolded isn't accurate. There are plenty of big strong centers and forwards in college basketball who don't make a big impact or regularly get double doubles. Believe it or not, Kofi actually posses legitimate basketball skills. He is fairly raw, and he needs to be more consistent, but he isn't some big body who just gets by on that. There are other things that Kofi does really well that's helped him succeed - Considering his experience and size, his ability to stay out of foul trouble (for the most part) is exceptional. That's a skill. He's made some really good passes out of the post. Skill. Sometimes he bobbles balls, other times he catches lasers with ease. He has legitimate shot-blocking skills, and that isn't something you are necessarily good at just because you're big. And of course the kid has a great motor and has nothing to do with size or strength.
Yeah I was a bit harsh. He certainly has other skills and does bring value to the team, but with regard to being an "NBA" prospect, his skills are nothing special. A lot of kids can stay out of foul trouble. A lot of kids can make good passes (Kofi isn't even averaging 1 assist per game (it's 0.7). He's not even in the top 40 in the NCAA for Rebounding, Blocks, or PPG (not even close). So I pretty much stand by my initial statements. The only thing he's good at "relatively speaking" is Free Throws... for a big man. And by relatively speaking yes I realize he's raw and may become dominant at some point down the road. The rate at which he's developed is rapid and he has a huge ceiling IMO. But he's not there yet. He's not that good at basketball yet (not compared to NCAA D1 players).
 
Yeah I was a bit harsh. He certainly has other skills and does bring value to the team, but with regard to being an "NBA" prospect, his skills are nothing special. A lot of kids can stay out of foul trouble. A lot of kids can make good passes (Kofi isn't even averaging 1 assist per game (it's 0.7). He's not even in the top 40 in the NCAA for Rebounding, Blocks, or PPG (not even close). So I pretty much stand by my initial statements. The only thing he's good at "relatively speaking" is Free Throws... for a big man. And by relatively speaking yes I realize he's raw and may become dominant at some point down the road. The rate at which he's developed is rapid and he has a huge ceiling IMO. But he's not there yet. He's not that good at basketball yet (not compared to NCAA D1 players).
I agree with this. Even though Kofi is an "old" freshman that really doesnt matter if he can make it somewhere and stick to maximize his income as a pro. The more and more he plays he gets better but it also becomes more obvious just how raw he is and needs to continue to improve. I honestly feel he needs more than just one more year to get better and become more polished and improve at this level before jumping to the next.
 
Yeah I was a bit harsh. He certainly has other skills and does bring value to the team, but with regard to being an "NBA" prospect, his skills are nothing special. A lot of kids can stay out of foul trouble. A lot of kids can make good passes (Kofi isn't even averaging 1 assist per game (it's 0.7). He's not even in the top 40 in the NCAA for Rebounding, Blocks, or PPG (not even close). So I pretty much stand by my initial statements. The only thing he's good at "relatively speaking" is Free Throws... for a big man. And by relatively speaking yes I realize he's raw and may become dominant at some point down the road. The rate at which he's developed is rapid and he has a huge ceiling IMO. But he's not there yet. He's not that good at basketball yet (not compared to NCAA D1 players).
I agree Kofi needs more time to develop, but to suggest "he's not that good at basketball yet (not compared to NCAA D1 players)" isn't accurate. Yes, he might not be in top 40 in any of those 3 categories, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are not 40 players who have have more points, rebounds, and blocks per game than Kofi. And I'm guessing the list of those who are freshmen is pretty short.
 
Los Angeles
Ignore individual rebound statistics as it relates to a prospects' draft stock. There's so much that goes into defensive rebounding. Scouts are looking at intangibles more than they're looking at stat lines for that particular skill.
 
Plano, TX
Kofi is absolutely a specimen with God-given talent and he appears to be someone who wants to make the most of those talents. As I read through a lot of these posts the vast majority of us agree on Kofi's potential NBA career and draft status. The discussion seems to be more about whether he is lottery material or not. Currently he is not lottery material and I think that everyone here knows that. Kofi has to develop better footwork, a 15-20 foot legit jump shot and the ability to hold onto the damn ball. How can someone that big have such weak hands? The ball is constantly knocked out of hands by guys way smaller than him. He also has to get better at passing. You can't try to go one on three in the NBA. Frankly...for the most part that hasn't worked for him at the college level.

That may seem like a negative critique of Kofi but quite the contrary...I am a huge fan but he has to stay at the college level for at least one more year and I hope that he progresses from freshman year to sophomore year even remotely close to level of progression that he saw from senior year of HS to Frosh at UI.

I watched him a lot in high school and he is W A Y better now than he was. Kudos to coach A and others in their development of him to this point but he has a long way to go. The positive is his raw athleticism and he appears to very coachable. Don't underestimate the value of that as league scouts evaluate him. It might be a "reach" but as a scout I'll reach for a 7'0 290 athletic guy who is coachable and has only played basketball for less than four years. GMs/Scouts have reached for far more than that. Hell someone got drafted #1 who couldn't shoot the damn ball (see Markelle Fultz).
 
Los Angeles
Hell someone got drafted #1 who couldn't shoot the damn ball (see Markelle Fultz).
Not that we need to go down this path, but Fultz was a great shooter in college. What happened to him and his mechanics was totally unique, whether it be injury or the yips.
 
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For those of you who still fret about Kofe (that's for those of you who still insist on Georgi) leaving, I just can't see it. As has been noted, he isn't polished enough at his position, and the NBA has moved away from a 5 who has no other game. He's coming back.
 
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For those of you who still fret about Kofe (that's for those of you who still insist on Georgi) leaving, I just can't see it. As has been noted, he isn't polished enough at his position, and the NBA has moved away from a 5 who has no other game. He's coming back.
I agree that he isn't polished enough, but someone may throw money him and let him develop on the bench in the NBA
 
I agree that he isn't polished enough, but someone may throw money him and let him develop on the bench in the NBA
Not being polished enough insinuates that it's things like a lack of go to post moves or the development of a short jumper is what's keeping him from being an NBA player. Quite honestly, he needs way, way more than just polish. He currently doesn't not have anywhere close to the skill set to play at the next level.

Kofi strengths:

Height
Size

Areas to be addressed:

Doesn't finish strong

Throws the ball at the rim vs gathering and finishing

Brings the ball down and get stripped

No game outside 4 feet

Length really bothers him

Quickness bothers him

Guards around the ball bother him

In the NBA, your position is based on who you can guard. Can he guard a 5 in the NBA with how vulnerable he is away from the basket?

Kofi, against NW, was a bully, he dunked and finished like a boss, he was a complete game changer. It was his pure size and physical dominance that put him in a comfort zone.

The point here isn't to bash Kofi because as a freshman with what, four years of competitive basketball under his belt....he's been more than most, including BU, figured he would be.

Kofi has a ton of work to do to get to the point where he just needs some polish. I think that he's going to have to go the Azibuike route and possibly shed 20-25 pounds, just to bring more explosiveness to his game. From the second he touches the ball, he needs to be able to take one step, ball high and flush it. Right now, he fumbles around and has to gather himself.

Honestly, for the NBA to take a hard look, I think he needs AT MINIMUM, one more year, but most likely two....given the type of big he is.

That said, I don't think Ayo is close to ready, but that's a conversation to have in April.
 
Yes thank you. That's what I was saying in my previous post. He's nowhere near ready. He's an okay free throw shooter (you didn't add that) and that's about it besides being big and strong.
That being said... I do believe if he declared for the draft he would get picked up by a team. 100%. But he will not be a first round pick.

Ayo is a shiny object who may not be quite ready but he will be a first round pick. He gone.
 
Charlotte, NC
Not being polished enough insinuates that it's things like a lack of go to post moves or the development of a short jumper is what's keeping him from being an NBA player. Quite honestly, he needs way, way more than just polish. He currently doesn't not have anywhere close to the skill set to play at the next level.

Kofi strengths:

Height
Size

Areas to be addressed:

Doesn't finish strong

Throws the ball at the rim vs gathering and finishing

Brings the ball down and get stripped


No game outside 4 feet

Length really bothers him

Quickness bothers him

Guards around the ball bother him

In the NBA, your position is based on who you can guard. Can he guard a 5 in the NBA with how vulnerable he is away from the basket?

Kofi, against NW, was a bully, he dunked and finished like a boss, he was a complete game changer. It was his pure size and physical dominance that put him in a comfort zone.

The point here isn't to bash Kofi because as a freshman with what, four years of competitive basketball under his belt....he's been more than most, including BU, figured he would be.

Kofi has a ton of work to do to get to the point where he just needs some polish. I think that he's going to have to go the Azibuike route and possibly shed 20-25 pounds, just to bring more explosiveness to his game. From the second he touches the ball, he needs to be able to take one step, ball high and flush it. Right now, he fumbles around and has to gather himself.

Honestly, for the NBA to take a hard look, I think he needs AT MINIMUM, one more year, but most likely two....given the type of big he is.

That said, I don't think Ayo is close to ready, but that's a conversation to have in April.
Every Illini game I watch, what sticks out to me like a sore thumb regarding Kofi is his tendency to want to DRIBBLE THE BALL. Most every time he puts the ball on the floor, he gives defenders a chance to knock it away, while also giving other defenders a chance to rotate over and double-team him. Are the coaches not drilling that into him daily at practice? He needs to STOP DRIBBLING.
 
Not being polished enough insinuates that it's things like a lack of go to post moves or the development of a short jumper is what's keeping him from being an NBA player. Quite honestly, he needs way, way more than just polish. He currently doesn't not have anywhere close to the skill set to play at the next level.

Kofi strengths:

Height
Size

Areas to be addressed:

Doesn't finish strong

Throws the ball at the rim vs gathering and finishing

Brings the ball down and get stripped

No game outside 4 feet

Length really bothers him

Quickness bothers him

Guards around the ball bother him

In the NBA, your position is based on who you can guard. Can he guard a 5 in the NBA with how vulnerable he is away from the basket?

Kofi, against NW, was a bully, he dunked and finished like a boss, he was a complete game changer. It was his pure size and physical dominance that put him in a comfort zone.

The point here isn't to bash Kofi because as a freshman with what, four years of competitive basketball under his belt....he's been more than most, including BU, figured he would be.

Kofi has a ton of work to do to get to the point where he just needs some polish. I think that he's going to have to go the Azibuike route and possibly shed 20-25 pounds, just to bring more explosiveness to his game. From the second he touches the ball, he needs to be able to take one step, ball high and flush it. Right now, he fumbles around and has to gather himself.

Honestly, for the NBA to take a hard look, I think he needs AT MINIMUM, one more year, but most likely two....given the type of big he is.

That said, I don't think Ayo is close to ready, but that's a conversation to have in April.
Agree, still may have a team like the Bulls throw money at him and put him in the developmental league. Hope that isn't the case. A year of strength work with his hands especially, a year of work on his bounce, stopping him from dribbling the ball, keeping the ball above his head, getting better position for the entry pass etc and Kofi could be one of the top big men in the country next year. Particularly with Curbelo's passing.
 
Middle TN
Every Illini game I watch, what sticks out to me like a sore thumb regarding Kofi is his tendency to want to DRIBBLE THE BALL. Most every time he puts the ball on the floor, he gives defenders a chance to knock it away, while also giving other defenders a chance to rotate over and double-team him. Are the coaches not drilling that into him daily at practice? He needs to STOP DRIBBLING.
Agreed! My wife told me (from another room) to stop yelling at the screen because I shouted "STOP PUTTING IT ON THE FLOOR"
 
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Kofi is absolutely a specimen with God-given talent and he appears to be someone who wants to make the most of those talents. As I read through a lot of these posts the vast majority of us agree on Kofi's potential NBA career and draft status. The discussion seems to be more about whether he is lottery material or not. Currently he is not lottery material and I think that everyone here knows that. Kofi has to develop better footwork, a 15-20 foot legit jump shot and the ability to hold onto the damn ball. How can someone that big have such weak hands? The ball is constantly knocked out of hands by guys way smaller than him. He also has to get better at passing. You can't try to go one on three in the NBA. Frankly...for the most part that hasn't worked for him at the college level.

That may seem like a negative critique of Kofi but quite the contrary...I am a huge fan but he has to stay at the college level for at least one more year and I hope that he progresses from freshman year to sophomore year even remotely close to level of progression that he saw from senior year of HS to Frosh at UI.

I watched him a lot in high school and he is W A Y better now than he was. Kudos to coach A and others in their development of him to this point but he has a long way to go. The positive is his raw athleticism and he appears to very coachable. Don't underestimate the value of that as league scouts evaluate him. It might be a "reach" but as a scout I'll reach for a 7'0 290 athletic guy who is coachable and has only played basketball for less than four years. GMs/Scouts have reached for far more than that. Hell someone got drafted #1 who couldn't shoot the damn ball (see Markelle Fultz).
Good post he has improved by leaps and bounds since his time at Oak Hill
 
I agree Kofi needs more time to develop, but to suggest "he's not that good at basketball yet (not compared to NCAA D1 players)" isn't accurate. Yes, he might not be in top 40 in any of those 3 categories, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are not 40 players who have have more points, rebounds, and blocks per game than Kofi. And I'm guessing the list of those who are freshmen is pretty short.
I'm not an NBA scout by any stretch but, I think if someone could pick him up really late round and not pay too much, why wouldn't they place him in their D league program now rather than wait a year and possibly not be able to afford him because 'he had time to develop'. Seems a good gamble to me.
 
Charlotte, NC
Sometimes you have to dribble to get in better position
And I think that's why he does it. But in doing so, he becomes very easy to take the ball from. I think he has the ability to bounce right up off the floor after catch an entry pass. If he does that, no one has time to rotate over. And if he keeps the ball high, no one's taking it from him. He may miss the shot, but heck, he misses a lot of close in shots already, so he'd be no worse off doing that.
 
BU:1 Trash cans:0
Chicago
I wouldn't put this all on Kofi. Sure, he needs to better learn how to get in a good position and to take advantage in those situations. But our team also needs to get better at getting him the ball in those positions. Passing is a weakness of this team. That's why Curbelo is poised to have such a significant impact next year.
 
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