There several “project” big men available in the NBA Draft and at least one of them should be on the board when the Atlanta Hawks pick at both No. 19 and No. 31. As a result, that has been a prolific topic of conversation and UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu fits the bill.
The talented one-and-done big man has a stock that is all over the place in mock drafts but the latest offering from FanRag Sports has Anigbogu sliding to the Hawks at No. 19.
During his brief stints on the floor at UCLA (13.0 minutes per game), Anigbogu looked the part of a potential NBA rim guardian. Then at the NBA draft combine, the measurements backed it up. He came in with a 9-2.5 standing reach, 7-6.25 wingspan and 252-pound frame.
Having quick feet is equally important to the length and strength numbers. Anigbogu checks that box for the Hawks as well. He moves spryly in the post and also slides his feet well on the perimeter. Once he gains some experience against high-level opponents, he’ll become comfortable in most matchups and situations.
Anigbogu’s offense is limited, but that’s OK. If he’s a well-coordinated finisher in the mold of Tristan Thompson, the defense will be worth it and he’ll have a prosperous career. For now, he’s a sturdy backup to Dwight Howard.
While much of the scouting report is spot-on, I would push back strongly on the notion that Anigbogu (or, really, any of the projects) would be “a sturdy backup” to Howard, at least in year one. That isn’t a slight to Anigbogu, but rather a miscalculation that many fans (and even pundits) make about the on-court usefulness of raw rookies in their first season.
At any rate, Anigbogu is a gifted physical specimen and it is easy to see a team falling in love with him before the Hawks can. On the flip side, there isn’t a ton of skill to work with offensively right now and he was simply a bit player on a (very) good UCLA team as a freshman.
Wildly enough, the general public knows even less about Anigbogu than they do about Texas big man Jarrett Allen or Creighton center Justin Patton (to name two) and that makes projections like this one difficult. It wouldn’t be a stunner if Anigbogu was available at No. 31 overall and that might be a more attractive landing spot for the Hawks. At No. 19, there are probably better options available but that is, of course, one man’s opinion.
What do you think about this scenario?