Adam Silver surprised a lot of people in the Draft when he announced Chuma Okeke in the 16th pick, when he was expected at the end of the first round for the most optimistic. We were obviously curious to see if he was worth such a place in the Draft, but we will have to wait since he will spend the whole season in the infirmary.
An original name, a face unknown to all basketball fans who do not watch all the NCAA games, in short there was something to be surprised when we heard “Chuma Okeke” come out of the mouth of Adam Silver 16th choice of the last Draft. The surprise is at the origin of the Magic, which bet on the winger victim of a cruciate ligament rupture during the March Madness. If not expected as high, however, Okeke had shown good things on the side of the Auburn Tigers, accumulating some 12 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The forward has everything of a modern winger: athletic, mobile, fairly complete, good shooter (more than 38% since the parking lot last season). But he doesn’t seem to be excelling anywhere, and with a big injury as a bonus, it looks a lot like a risky choice as high in the Draft. But the Magic board must have confidence in him, and does not want to take any risks since Shams Charania of The Athletic is already reporting that it will skip next season.
Sources: The Orlando Magic plan to redshirt No. 16 overall pick Chuma Okeke this season. Creative move by both sides allows Okeke to focus on ACL rehab while still being in team’s long-term plans and receiving salary of 16th pick.
– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 23, 2019
In line with its management of Markelle Fultz or Mo Bamba, the Magic wants to take its time concerning its young people. Coach Steve Clifford already has a few people on the wings, so there is no question of rushing the return of a guy who will only have a limited playing time. And according to Shams, the contract case of Chuma Okeke is quite innovative: he will have a contract with the Orlando G League team this season and will not sign his rookie contract with the Magic until next season. An agreement that has advantages on both sides: for the player, he will receive a more substantial rookie contract since it will be aligned with the salaries of future rookie contracts, which will have increased in 2020 compared to those of this year with the increase in salary cap. And on the franchise side, it will ultimately have more guarantees when it comes to considering extending Okeke, since he should start his contract when he is fully recovered.
By making a cross on his rookie season, Chuma Okeke joins the club of Blake Griffins, Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons. But those three still had a lot more hype when they were drafted, and we wish Okeke to one day reach the level of these three All-Stars.
Text source: The Athletic