There’s always a lot of guesswork when trying to figure out who the Nets like in the draft. The Nets keep their workout schedules private, unlike under Billy King and Rod Thorn before him.
But sometimes things leak out, and we try to connect the dots. One thing we look for are multiple workouts or high level scouting trips. So when he saw reports this weekend that Sean Marks had changed the itinerary of his European scouting trip and decided to take in a French league game, we took notice. Particularly since the player he was reportedly looking at, French-Congolese combo guard Elie Okopo, had been invited to work out for the Nets last spring before dropping out of the Draft.
Devant Sean Marks en personne, GM des @BrooklynNets, @ElieOkobo_0 a livré une nouvelle grande performance. 21 points à 5/7 à 3 pts, 3 rebonds et 3 passes décisives. Victoire de @EBPLO face à la @JLBourgBasket pic.twitter.com/qia5oRGkMs— Anthony Ottou (@AnthonyOttou) March 16, 2018
Translated from French, Ottou’s tweet reads, “In front of Sean Marks, GM of the Brooklyn Nets, Elie Okobo delivered another great performance: 21 points at 5/7 from 3-pt, plus 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Victory for EBPLO over JLBourgBasket.” Anthony Ottou is someone who would recognize Marks. He’s the editor of two popular French websites that follow the NBA.
So who is Okobo? For starters, he’s a sleeper, ranked No. 61 on ESPN’s Top 100, just out of the second round, but he’s rising. Since the beginning of 2018, the 20-year-old combo guard is shooting 42.9 percent from deep and averaging 17.4 points per game for Pau-Orthez. He’s a solid defender and has good size at 6’3” with a 6’8” wingspan. He also speaks excellent English, which should never be underestimated in a development project.
Moreover, Okobo is very serious about his craft. He’s been working with a sports psychologist to help him develop a balance between his life and the game. Not something you see from your average 20-year-old.
ESPN’s Mike Schmitz wrote of him just before that stretch...
Okobo, who had four workouts last draft season, still has to show what he does at an NBA level before he can be considered a lock to get drafted, especially with how competitive the point guard position has become. With that said, he has some natural ability that hasn’t been fully realized yet, and if guards such as Ognjen Jaramaz and David Michineau can get drafted as they have in recent years, the high-character Okobo is most certainly a late-second-round candidate.
Yes, we can hear groans from those who ask, “why is Marks scouting another combo guard?” Because the Nets are still in talent acquisition mode and the Nets may have the luxury of two or three second rounders. Even if the Bucks and Pacer picks don’t convey to the Nets this June, Brooklyn has $5.1 million in cash considerations to spend, if it wants, to buy a pick or move up.