Chimezie Metu– USC
CPP Big Board Ranking: #41 Overall (#7 PF/#9 C)
Weight: 210 lbs
Age/Birthday: 21 (03/22/97)
Hometown: Lawndale, CA
High School: Lawndale High School
(Jonathan Gee – 2/5/18)
Chimezie Metu is one of the highly questioned prospects coming out of the PAC-12. As a junior, Metu is averaging around 16 points, 7 rebounds, and slightly 2 blocks per game. He has steadily improved in all areas of his game since his freshman year at Southern California, especially in his ability to score, but still has some issues that may keep some NBA scouts hesitant to pursue him. Although he only stands a couple inches below seven-feet tall, Chimezie’s body is not all that impressive. He weighs in at just over 210 pounds, and only presents a 6’11” wingspan. Despite his inability to assert himself in the post at times, Metu does hold some special skills that separate him from the other “stretch 4s” looking to be drafted. The quickness he possesses at his size, matched with his pure athleticism makes him a scary matchup for opposing defenders. With his lack of awareness and ability in the post though, Chimezie has found his niche by generating his offense off the ball. He has seen great success at USC in pick and roll and back-cut situations where his true skills really shine.
As stated above, Chimezie Metu is not the typical 6’10”, back-to-the-basket style “stretch” center. Instead, Metu has much more of an impact on the perimeter where he can use his speed and athleticism to create looks off the ball. Although he has room to improve before the NBA, Metu is shooting about 50% on field goals, and 35% from three this season (on a small sample size). Another area of Metu’s game that shines, due to his athletic abilities, is his ability to grab offensive rebounds. Over his two and a half seasons at USC, Chimezie Metu has brought down an average of 3.2 offensive boards in forty minutes of play. His speed and lanky frame makes it difficult for defenders to get a body on him, and if Metu is able to get to the rim untouched, watch out. The final areas of his game that cannot be ignored are his transition skills, on both the offensive and defensive end. Thanks to his speed and agility, once again, Metu is a major threat on fast breaks as he is able to get to his lane quickly, letting get to the rim even faster than his opponents. On the other side of transition, Metu is able to utilize his quick feet and stay in front of the ball, and if that is not sufficient, Metu is quite the rim protector, with an average of 3.2 blocks per forty minutes of play for his career. The potential strengths of Chimezie Metu really are unlimited, but it will be up to him to prove himself as a viable big and utilize his special skills at the next level.
Despite the many unique talents Chimezie Metu possesses, there are areas of his game that need some serious attention before he makes his NBA jump. Although he is able to save himself at times with his athletic versatility, Metu struggles with his post-presence. His 210-pound frame gets pushed around pretty easily, and his lack of post moves makes it difficult for him to generate much down low. Instead, Metu looks to score on pick-and-rolls and cuts to the rim, but his below average hands can make this a difficult task as well. He is going to have to work on being more effective down low before the NBA, which includes improving his post moves, working on his hands, and also his touch around the rim. Metu has been criticized for how often he gets a good look under the basket, but then continues to throw it off the back of the rim. For Metu to develop into a great player he must work on his finishing, because at this point, if he isn’t flying to the rim for a dunk, it is a big question whether he will finish or not. For Metu, it really comes down to him developing into more of a basketball player, than just the athletic big guy he is now. This will require getting stronger, working on shooting, and improving his overall basketball IQ. Metu has all the potential in the world, but these weaknesses around his game are certainly concerning.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: A smaller, more athletic DeAndre Jordan
Chimezie Metu is definitely prepared to be an effective rim protector in the NBA, but it is crucial that he develops his game on the offensive end for him to be successful at the next level. He has all the physical tools with his near 6’10” body, with plenty of room to bulk up, and his freakish athleticism. His defense is further along than most of the other power forwards in his draft class and his motor is unmatched. Despite the questions around his game, I do not see many NBA teams passing on Chimezie Metu. I do not expect him to still be available by the time the second round rolls around, but he could go anywhere from middle, to late first round. Whichever team does take the USC junior will certainly have a project on their hands, but a project that could be well worth it. Metu has too much upside for him not to fit into an NBA roster, and when surrounded by the right coaches and teammates, he could develop into a consistent starter.
With all the talk about potential, upside, and athleticism the comparison to DeAndre Jordan came to mind. DeAndre Jordan is known around the NBA for his pick-and-roll game and slashing abilities. Really, Jordan’s only offense is flying to the rim and dunking, which is how many describe the game of Metu. Jordan is also a great shot blocker and rebounder, which has established his success with the LA Clippers. Despite all the similarities, I do believe that Chimezie could become a much more developed player than DeAndre. With an improved jump shot, stronger body, and better arsenal of post moves, Chimezie Metu could become one of the most successful players of the 2018 NBA draft.
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