Image Taken At Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball Game, Saturday, December 21, 2019, BOK Center, Tulsa, OK. Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics

The closing picks of the second round of the NBA draft are often used to take flyers on cost-controlled tryouts to see if there is value worth extracting from certain prospects. Those players have ceilings that are inches above their current standings. Their rookie years are often in their early twenties, their skills are often unpolished and undefined, and their bodies and physical characteristics are often unfavorable in the NBA world. The key to molding a serviceable product out of those late picks is to simplify the game and role for the player selected. Daniel Oturu, a 6’10”, 240-pound center who departed from the University of Minnesota after his sophomore year will find himself available near the midnight hour on the draft clock. But, that doesn’t mean Oturu isn’t worth a flyer.

Strengths

  • Establishes himself clearly in the offensive post
  • Polished footwork around the rim
  • Length (7’2″ wingspan) switching onto perimeter forces smaller players to rush shots to catch him off guard
  • Disciplined man defender, alters shots in low post without fouling
  • Athleticism to be a crafty finisher, strength to finish through traffic
  • Will shoot from the perimeter off the catch if given space (set shooter)
  • Quick hands, able to engulf shots at the rim
  • Defends with hands raised
  • Holds his ground in the defensive post; opposition ends up settling for shots farther from the basket than where they initially posted

Weaknesses

  • Outside of low post man matchups, he tends to commit unnecessary fouls
  • Lacks court vision, doesn’t see teammates outside of the first pass immediately available
  • Sees the floor far too late from the post; often late delivering passes
  • Needs to work on reading double-teams out of the post
  • Rotates well, but doesn’t slide; exhibits slow-twitch traits
  • Doesn’t keep the ball high in traffic, prone to turnovers
  • Lacks a consistent offensive game outside of scoring around the rim

What Excites Me

Daniel Oturu has NBA-ready anticipation on the defensive end of the floor. His aptitude at rotating over to smother shots at the rim makes him a prospect that can be trusted with some polishing. That and his capacity to convert crafty finishes on lobs around the rim make him worth a look. In a simplified role as a rim-protector, rebounder, and lob-finisher, Oturu can be a serviceable second unit center in the NBA.

What Concerns Me

Oturu’s slow-twitch nature makes it difficult to see how he can stay in front of NBA-level guards and wings in a switch-heavy league. Since he lacks the fluidity and athleticism of a more dynamic offensive center, he will have to master the pick-and-pop and minimize his errors around the rim. With his lack of dynamic offensive game outside of basic post moves, defenses can swarm him and force turnovers on bad passes. Lacking the physical traits that NBA centers with staying power have, and possessing an easy-to-guard offensive package, there is not much that separates Daniel Oturu from dime-a-dozen centers that are out of the league before they ever have the chance to log an NBA minute.

Best Fits

Oturu is a low-risk, high-reward investment. So, he is a fit on any team willing to give him a chance. Any team with a knack for player development, a need for big man depth, and a desire to fill cap space in other areas of need would make sense.

Golden State Warriors

The need for Oturu could be dashed depending on what Golden State does with the second overall pick. If they don’t take one of the prized big men in the lottery, the Warriors could take a flyer on Oturu with either the 48th pick or 51st pick. Not only does he afford the Warriors cost-controlled depth, but he would offer them roster flexibility in pursuit of focal depth pieces over the length of his rookie contract. With a well-defined role as a rebounder and rim-protector, Oturu would make a lot of sense in Golden State.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have cultivated a farm of diamonds with unfavorable draft positioning and in undrafted free agency. With Marc Gasol seemingly prepared to continue his professional career overseas, the Raptors need a big. Taking a flyer on Daniel Oturu would give Nick Nurse a cost-controlled big man that he could develop into a fixture of Toronto’s long, physical rotation. 

Charlotte Hornets

Rebuilding teams typically aren’t looking to hit home runs with every selection they have. Rather, they’re trying to amass as many picks as possible and see which ones pan out under their development system. The Hornets need a big man, and they may have their eyes on other prizes with the third overall pick in the draft. A small-market team like Charlotte could take a chance on Oturu as a rebounder and pick-and-roll finisher, let him work through his mistakes, and see what he becomes.

Stats To Know

  • Oturu averaged a double-double in his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota
  • Free throw attempts increased by 2.5 and percentage increased by nearly 10% from his freshman season to sophomore season
  • Led the Big Ten in blocks recorded and blocks per game as a sophomore 

Draft

Highest I’d take him: 48th pick

Lowest I think he’ll be available: Undrafted

Ceiling: Aron Baynes

Floor: Skal Labissiere

You can find the rest of our draft evaluations below!