Getting to know Semi Ojeleye, pick No. 37 in 2017 NBA draft
The Celtics left the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night with Jayson Tatum at No. 3 overall, Semi Ojeleye at No. 37 overall, Kadeem Allen at No. 53 overall and Jabari Bird at No. 56 overall.
Ojeleye is a forward from SMU that is athletic, powerful and smart. The 6-foot 7-inch 235-pound 22-year-old Duke transfer averaged 19 points and 6.9 rebounds during the 2016-17 season. He shot the ball 48.7 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from three-point range. As a big man, he has the ability to step out behind the arc and feels comfortable enough to take 172 three-pointers over the course of season.
His game is simple yet solid. Ojeleye uses an up fake or a jab to read his defender followed by one or two dribbles for a mid-range pull up or layup. Once he puts the ball on the ground, it is hard to stop him from getting to the rim. He doesn’t use counter moves, but he is extremely efficient with his straight-line drives and constantly putting defenders on their heels and in retreat mode.
Defensively, Ojeleye cannot be displaced and with his 6-foot 9-inch wingspan he is able to keep forwards from posting up on the block and differ passes with his active hands. His athleticism also shows in his footwork. He moves well on the ball in 1-on-1 situations and in pick and roll situations by soft hedging or waiting beneath the screens and reading his opponents.
While size may be a factor at the small forward position, his strengths may also be his greatest weaknesses. His straight-line drive is predominately with his right-hand only and without the ability to make counter moves, Ojeleye is somewhat predictable to defend as he finds himself plowing to the rim without a plan and into traffic. While he was able to defend against competition at the college level in post-up situations, the NBA may be a difficult transition for that position at his size.
Ojeleye has the potential to fill the shoes of Jae Crowder if he is involved in any upcoming trade deals.
“We were very excited that he was still there for us,” Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald. “We’re big fans. He’s a great kid and has a great work ethic. Again, very high character. He can shoot, and we needed a guy like him. Sometimes when we didn’t have a guy like Jae Crowder and got thin at those positions, and he gives us more depth with a 245-pound body that can make 3s.”
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Source: GreenStreet Blog