Spurs Prospect Watch: Chimezie Metu

Southern California forward Chimezie Metu dunks against UCLA during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Pac-12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) ORG XMIT: NVJL136

The San Antonio Spurs are bringing in prospects for workouts and interviews before June’s NBA Draft. That includes USC big man Chimezie Metu who spoke with the team earlier this month. The 6-foot-11, 225-pound forward/center had a solid season for the Trojans – who many thought were snubbed from the NCAA Tournament – and showed that he has serious potential on the defensive end.

Metu has noticeably improved his shooting since he landed at USC in 2015 and while his three-point stroke isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, he’s shown the propensity to develop his shot. He could one day step out there and hit consistently, but he is certainly not there yet. The willingness to learn and his high motor are going to be what endears him to a team in this draft. For more information, read more here.

Here are his stats from this past season:

  • 15.7 PPG, 1.7 BPG, 7.4 RPG
  • 52.3 FG%, 73 FT%, 30.0 3P%
    • Per-40 stats:
      • 20.2 PPG, 2.2 BPG, 9.6 RPG
  • 113 ORtg, 99.8 DRtg

The California native is not going to be an on-the-ball scorer at the NBA level – at least not right away – as he can’t really score out of the post like a traditional big man. He doesn’t have enough post moves, isn’t really strong enough in the lower body to hold his own and doesn’t quite have great touch in his left hand. However, he can be like a Clint Capela who gets buckets in transition, off putbacks, alley-oops and cuts to the basket. He is a fantastic athlete who’s explosive, quick and has long arms. This allows him to protect the rim well (as you can tell by his block numbers) and stay with some offensive players out on the perimeter.

Metu will definitely need to refine his offensive game a bit, but with a shooting coach like Chip Engelland that progress will come. He will need to get stronger if he is going to be posting people in the NBA and will have to develop his hands. Those can be a problem for him and are the reasons he drops passes and turns the ball over so often (2.6 times a game). He’ll also need to be more committed to getting on the boards, but that will be made easier once he gets a little stronger too.

As stated earlier, Metu’s rate of improvement of going to be looked at as a major plus and will likely be what triggers the pick for whichever team that ends up taking him. At the 18th pick for the Spurs he might be a slight reach, but if he somehow falls to their second round pick (mock drafts have him all over the place) then he would be an absolute steal.

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