Are you in need of a rim running, shot-blocking center? Well, you’re in luck because Udoka Azubuike could be your man. The Kansas center enters the 2020 NBA Draft as an exciting prospect. Could Azuike become a major steal on draft day? Let’s take a look at his prospect profile.
The Nigerian born Azubuike started playing basketball at the age of 13. After four years at Kansas, he’s emerged as a dominant presence in the Big 12. This past year for the Jayhawks, he averaged 17.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in 27.7 minutes of action.
The biggest knock in Azubuike’s game is his porous free throw shooting. Azubuike isn’t just a bad free-throw shooter; he can’t hit the broad side of a barn. The Kansas center shot .441% as a senior, which was the highest mark of his collegiate career. If Azubuike can’t be on the floor late in games, how valuable is he?
There’s also a lot to like. How does a career field goal percentage of 76.4% sound? Azubuike may not be able to shoot, but that doesn’t mean he can’t score. A player efficiency rating of 31.3 doesn’t even sound real. Anything around the basketball, more often than not, is a bucket.
At 7-foot, 270, Azubuike is a load inside. Azubuike ranked first in the Big 12 in post-up scoring (6.3 points per game). His 7-foot-7 wingspan also creates a lot of put-back opportunities and extra offensive rebounds. Azubuike will be a constant lob threat in the NBA as well.
Defensively, Azubuike qualifies as a bonafide rim protector. If 2K were handing out badges, they would give Azubuike the brick wall. On the season, Azubuike allowed just 0.43 points per post-up possession, which ranked in the 96th percentile.
With Azubuike, you’re getting a defensive anchor, low post scoring, and dominant rebounder. The NBA is very different than it was 20 years ago. The question is, how high do you draft a player with this skill set in today’s game?