The Phoenix Suns selected point guard Elie Okobo from France with the 31st overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. As an international prospect, most fans don’t know much about Okobo and what he brings to the Valley of the Suns. Rest assured Phoenix fans, he has game.
The Phoenix Suns entered the 2018 NBA Draft needing a point guard, badly. With the first pick in the second round, Phoenix got one by drafting Okobo from Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez, a Premier club in the French Pro A league.
Okobo is a high shooting combo guard, dangerous from both standing and pulling-up beyond the arc. Scoring from deep won’t be a problem for the Frenchmen in the NBA after shooting 39% from deep on almost five 3-point attempts per game last season.
Okobo is also comfortable in the pick-and-roll and should be able to run it without hesitation at the NBA level.
He’s got a nice runner and is able to get into the lane with a solid first step.
Offensively, Okobo will fit right in with the Suns. Phoenix needed more shooting off the bench and Elie provides that.
It is a possibility that Okobo cracks the opening night rotation due strictly to his shooting. He’s more NBA-ready than many international prospects at 20-years-old as he comes in with three seasons in France’s top pro league already under his belt.
The competition in Pro A isn’t exactly EuroLeague quality but it has plenty of former American college stars and quality international players.
On the flip side, defense and ball distribution are question marks for Okobo. He’s small for a combo guard at 6’3”, and will certainly be expected to play PG in the NBA. If he doesn’t develop his offensive awareness and find the open teammates around him, he will not see much time on the floor.
Despite his limited height though, he has a pretty good wingspan at 6’8″ and has the potential to be a plus defender. However, it remains to be seen how he will adjust to NBA competition in that regard.
He’s still raw as a distributor and needs time to continue learning how to run an offense. His assist/turnover ratio wasn’t great last season at 4.8 APG and 2.7 TPG. If it weren’t for Juan shooting skills, he’d likely be a G-League player for his first year.
Overall, Elie Okobo has a lot of promise for the Phoenix Suns. His offensive skills could make him a really valuable piece for the long-term future of the team.
If he can develop into a true point guard and use his length to defend at a plus level as well, he has All-Star potential. His development will be extremely interesting to watch.
He could be a second round steal for Phoenix.