Ochai Agbaji, the 14th overall pick in last month’s NBA draft, has the potential to be an integral complementary player for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the coming years.
He is very athletic, can hit 3-pointers and has plenty of potential on the defensive end.
At 6-foot-5, he is slated to become Cleveland’s newest potential 3-and-D wing, something it seriously could use.
His new teammate R.J. Nembhard said some very positive things about him and seems to think very highly of his potential, comparing him to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane.
#Cavs two-way guard R.J. Nembhard said he does see some similarities to Grizzlies star shooter Desmond Bane in Ochai Agbaji.
But, Nembhard does say his new teammate in Agbaji is more athletic than his former TCU teammate.
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) July 5, 2022
“I do (see the comparisons),” Nembhard said. “Des is my guy. I think Des got him on the shot right now. But O I think is more athletic than Bane. They do have similarities. Plug-and-play guys. Put them anywhere and they will be effective. Can get to the rim. Can shoot. Can defend. That’s a hot commodity right now. It’s a huge asset for our organization.”
After a quiet rookie season, Bane blossomed this past season for the Grizzlies, averaging 18.2 points in 29.8 minutes per game and becoming arguably their second-best player behind Ja Morant.
Bane is a lethal 3-point shooter who has made over 43 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in both of his NBA seasons.
Agbaji has a very generous wingspan and outstanding hops, which should help him convert plenty of alley-oop dunks and fast-break jams this coming season, as well as help him play effective defense against some of the Eastern Conference’s star wings.
The conference is certainly loaded with such players, such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jimmy Butler.
But perhaps what the Cavs will need most from Agbaji is 3-point shooting, as they had a lack of players who shot above the league average in 3-point percentage in 2022.
Last season, as a member of the University of Kansas, he made 40.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
So Far, So Good In Summer League
In two games in the NBA Summer League, Agbaji has been showing off his stroke from downtown, as he is shooting 40.0 percent from that distance.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) July 8, 2022
He went 4-of-9 in his first Summer League contest on Friday and scored 16 points as Cleveland downed the San Antonio Spurs 99-90.
Agbaji struggled from the field on Sunday versus the Denver Nuggets in a 84-76 loss, but he still showed his ability to hit from deep, not to mention his confidence.
Ochai Agbaji sprints to the corner and drains the three with such a pure shot.
You love to see it from the rookie. pic.twitter.com/XVhNHsy4VY
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) July 10, 2022
Predicting whether what a player shows in Summer League will translate to the NBA is an inexact science, but when he consistently hits outside shots, especially contested outside shots, it’s generally a sign he has legitimate potential as a sniper in the big leagues.
If Agbaji’s shot does translate, and if he also shows some legitimate defensive prowess, the Cavs could very well have a steal at No. 14 in the draft who will be a part of a potential contender within a few years.