In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 33 picks.
Today’s installment takes a glance at USC big man Chimezie Metu.
Chimezie Metu is one of the biggest wild cards in the 2018 NBA Draft. Metu, a 6’11 big man out of USC, can do a little bit of everything well and could end up being the John Collins of this draft class, but could also fizzle out at the next level due to his limited offensive skill-set.
Metu posted season averages of 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and was solid on the defensive end against some stout competition in the Pac-12 conference. Metu played against the likes of Arizona’s Deandre Ayton and ended up on the All-Pac-12 first team with his solid work.
Metu was born in Los Angeles, California but moved to Nigeria at the age of six with his father. He eventually returned to the states at 12 years old and was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in 2015.
At 21 years old, Metu also appears to display many of the traits that a coach will look for in modern NBA play, as he’s athletic enough to keep up with the increasing tempo around the league but still big enough to play defense against traditional centers.
Lets take a look at some of Metu’s strengths and weaknesses.
As mentioned above, Metu is a great athlete and at his size it is even more impressive. He is able to run the floor in transition and cuts well to the basket from the baselines and plays above the rim big time.
Metu is also a solid offensive rebounder, pulling down 3.2 per 40 minutes and is a reasonable overall rebounder in putting up 7.4 boards per game.
Metu is a strong defender in both the post and on the perimeter as his lateral movement is next level and his speed aids him in recovering from mistakes. He has a knack for high pointing the ball when defending in the post and should be a solid option in the draft just for his defensive skills.
Although Metu has great athleticism, his offensive game is limited outside of being a great cutter and finisher. Metu’s jumper has a solid foundation but is still raw and will need time to develop. He also struggles from the line where he shot around 50 percent last season.
His hands are decent but not elite and, as a result, some of his great cuts to the rim end in turnovers as he is unable to catch stray passes. This lack of big hands also causes turnovers when Metu tries to force the action by dribbling towards the basket as he is prone to getting the ball stripped.
For a stretch 5 to be successful, they usually need to possess some form of a three-point jumper. Metu gave his best effort at USC this season to try and develop one, as he took nearly 1.5 attempts per game and wasn’t awful hitting 30% of his shots from deep, but he was not great by any stretch with those numbers. Again, the basis for a working jumper is there but it is still very raw.
Overall, Metu is a solid prospect and, at 21, he is still going to be able to develop his skills. He would be a solid pick for a team with multiple first-rounders like the Hawks that could stand to take a chance on him. The defensive upside is legitimate and that will give him a role in the NBA but if the offense ever comes around he could be one of the biggest steals in the 2018 Draft class.
If he is there at the No. 30 or No. 33 overall pick, it would be a solid choice but he does not appear to be worth a top-20 selection with the risk involved. With that said, I would predict Metu to land late in the first round or in the early-to-mid second round range.