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This Ike Anigbogu NBA Draft profile features one of the most exciting defensive prospects in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft.
Ike Anigbogu is an American center from UCLA. He is projected to be a mid-late lottery pick. Although he missed the first five games of the one season he played with UCLA, his on-court production impressed scouts. Anigbogu averaged up 4.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game during the season. He played 13 minutes per game and shot 56.4 percent from the field. Anigbogu was a reserve on the UCLA Bruins, who made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. He seems to have the physical gifts and abilities that big men in the modern NBA need to succeed. Teams are already intrigued by Anigbogu’s elite defensive potential.
Anigbogu is built like a center ready for the NBA. He stands at an intimidating 6’10”, and he has the longest reach of any prospect in this draft at 9’2.5”. His lower body is strong and he weighs 250 lbs, but he is still light on his feet, with a quick first and second jump. Anigbogu was one of UCLA’s top three rebounders and shot blockers, despite not playing starter minutes and missing five games. Scouts have shown interest in Anigbogu’s elite athleticism and length even though he did not play much. Anigbogu grabbed 4.1 offensive boards per 40 minutes, fourth among the top 100 draft prospects. His many highlight dunks and rebounds show that he moves well without the ball and has the ability to explode. He is quick to get down the floor in transition, often beating his man down the court with long strides and strong finishes.
Anigbogu does not have a complete game. The offensive skills he possesses are obvious. On offense, he can shoot simple jump hooks or turnaround jumpers. He converted on 48 percent of his second-chance point opportunities in his lone college season. However, outside of the paint, Anigbogu attempted just eight jump shots all year. The Bruins scored on just 30.4 percent of Anigbogu’s post-up possessions. Anigbogu’s footwork and offensive skills are simply too raw for him to be a top pick. He grabbed 19.9 percent of the rebounds on the defensive end. His jump is noticeably less high on rebounds and he scores on 25 percent of his post possessions, but when double-teamed, he turned the ball over 18 percent of the time, a bad rate. Anigbogu also fouls at the worst rate of anyone in the top 100 draft prospects, at 7.6 fouls per 40 minutes.
Anigbogu’s physical gifts and skills cannot be ignored by a lot of NBA teams. He has exactly the modern NBA body type that teams want. Even though his raw offense makes him a project more than a polished product, he can be a presence right away if he rebounds well against the NBA’s most athletic big men. Anigbogu’s ability to move will open up the floor for NBA teams that run a fast-paced offense. It will be interesting to see if the team that selects him uses him like DeAndre Jordan or tries to make him into a Serge Ibaka type of player. His potential lies in how well he can contribute defensively while he develops his limited offensive skills.
Some NBA scouts have compared Anigbogu to Kevin Seraphin, Bismack Biyombo, and Tristan Thompson. Anigbogu plays fiercely as a rim protector and has limited offensive skills, similar to these players. He has a strong lower body like Biyombo and benefits from moving without the ball. It is possible that teams will use Anigbogu in a motion and/or pick-and-roll based offense, like Thompson with limited offensive targeting. Like these three players, he will have to live offensively off of put-backs, strong runs to the rim, and soft touches in traffic. Anigbogu’s footwork and offensive touch will need to improve quickly so that he does not become a hack-a-Shaq target and liability.