Chinanu Onuaku Scouting Report

1.Physical Tools:

6’10” 246 (7’2.5” Wingspan, 9’1.5” Standing Reach)

  • A touch undersized height-wise for an NBA center but has above average length
  • Compact, strong build and rarely gets run through protecting the rim


  • Not an explosive leaper on lob catches in traffic or contesting shots at the rim
  • Great feet and fluidity moving on the court: always light on his feet which enables quick movement and reaction
  • Can really change ends: not as fast as someone like Diallo but he can cover ground as a rim-runner


  • Defense/Rebounding Strengths
  1. Plus space defender on the perimeter with nimble feet and quick reaction ability who can move laterally
  2. Appears to be an intelligent team defender: consistent communication on the back line of the defense. Is noticeable on the court calling out assignments and understanding where to be
  3. Good instincts on when to rotate help-side: rarely out of position
  4. Rarely gets dislodged moving backwards containing dribble penetration: has the frame to absorb contact and contest vertically
  5. Definitely a “box out” guy on defense: usually does a good job locating bodies but isn’t a high-pointing attacker
  6. Physical and tough on the glass
  • Defense/Rebounding Weaknesses
  1. Doesn’t get great lift challenging shots at the rim: profile of being undersized with average burst and non-elite length is a bit concerning (see above)
  2. Loses battles on contested boards due to that same issue (I’d like to see his contested rebounding %)
  3. Foul prone with mental mistakes such as overcommitting on the perimeter and fouling jump-shooters
  4. Doesn’t always have his arms up on closeouts or on shot contests
  • Offense Strengths
  1. Rare Passing IQ: Has advanced feel as a passer for a center his age (some of these passes he makes above are insane for a 19 year-old center).
    1. Makes a plethora of quick decisions that profile well for the NBA operating in more space foul-line extended
  2. Tenacious offensive rebounder over a two year sample: really locates the ball and can move bodies with his frame
  3. Effective on duck-ins with his frame
  4. Promising midrange jump shot sample: looks relatively fluid
  5. Profiles as a plus screener with his frame
  • Offense Weaknesses
  1. Does not profile as a scorer/effective offensive player unless he can make midrange shots and playmake out of that space
  2. Lack of explosiveness limits dive potential in a PNR scheme finishing over length in traffic
  3. Raw footwork in the post when he can’t just use his strength to put others in the basket
  4. FT % and stroke with granny style employed is somewhat of a red flag
  5. Doesn’t always make himself available rolling after setting screens

4.Statistical Profile


  • Promising 2 pt jump shot sample in 2015/16 (Per Hoop-Math)
    • 59/114 (10.5% total 2 pt jumpers on putbacks)
  • 8 assists Per 40 Pace ADJ (Per Draftexpress): #2 behind of Ochefu in my database of domestic draft-likely centers
  • 7 Stocks Per 40 Pace ADJ (Per Draftexpress): 1.3 Steals/3.4 Blocks
  • 4 Rebounds Per 40 Pace ADJ (Per Draftexpress): 5 OREB/9.4 DREB
  • Anchored the 2nd best defense according to


  • Doesn’t draw fouls or shoot FTs well: 3.1 FTA Per 40 Pace ADJ (Per Draftexpress): 59%

5.NBA Role/Position w/ Player Comp

  • NBA Role (What he’ll need to be): Playmaking 5. If Onuaku is going to thrive as a plus center in the league he’ll need to play the Favors/Horford role as a PNR playmaker with his passing and pick and pop midrange shooting.  I don’t see him as a legitimate rolling threat as a lob catcher unless there is pristine spacing: he just doesn’t have the catch radius or explosion there.  He’s also not refined in the post, but I don’t really care about that.  He’s good enough establishing position on duck-ins and good enough running the floor where he can be effective there on mismatches etc.
  • NBA Comparison Range :
    • Best Case Conceptually: Poor Man’s Derrick Favors (not as athletic/explosive as Favors but just conceptually so: he’s not nearly as fluid as Horford but that’s the kind of archetype) .
    • Worst Case Conceptually: Tristan Thompson-esque (wont be as dominant as Thompson on the glass but will probably defend better on the interior: again conceptually a pick up the garbage guy)


I’m enamored with Onuaku given his combination of defensive baseline defending in space and his passing instincts/intelligence level (which I think will translate).  I think he projects as an NBA player, and will likely earn a 1st round grade from me. So much depends on his skill development, but there has been enough of a sample to at least suggest the combination of passing and mid-range shooting is achievable.  I do worry about his back-line rim protection with the aforementioned lack of a combination of explosiveness and elite length, but if he can playmake on offense it will likely be a positive tradeoff.