Weight: 241 pounds
Position: Small Forward
The first thing that stands out about Semi Ojeleye is his body. He has a strong, strudy, muscular frame that will allow him more than hold his own against bigger players on the block.
As a matter of fact it is that defense that will likely be his calling card. In addition to being able to deal with big guys down low, he still has the ability to go out and stick with wings and guards.
Overall Ojeleye is just a great athlete who can rise up and finish on offense. Because of his body, he is great at finishing through contact and not being bothered in traffic.
Ojeleye is also a great shooter with three-point range. He shot 42.4 percent from three-point range, mainly as a spot-up guy and he should be able to make defenses pay. He also understands how to attack when guys close out on him too quickly.
The major problem for Ojeleye is mental, as his focus and intensity goes in and out at times, especially on defense. For someone with his physical tools and versatility he does not come up with a lot of steals or blocks which is a little concerning.
This isn’t to say that those numbers are the only way to measure good defensive play, but both numbers are definitely lower than you would expect.
Offensively he definitely needs work as a ball-handler and passer. He is good in straight lines, but struggles when he has to make more than one or two easy moves on drives.
His vision is also lacking on these drives as he simply doesn’t make many plays for others. He will never be relied on to be a serious playmaker, but he should have the ability to make the right reads and passes.
Player Comparison: Jae Crowder
A strong, muscular forward with the ability to guard larger big men as well as wings and can stretch the floor on defense, Jae Crowder and Semi Ojeleye seem like almost carbon copies of each other.
The key for Ojeleye will be making sure he locks in on defense regularly, but the blueprint for his role in the NBA is there. He will provide a physical presense and versatile piece on defense, and someone who the defense must respect from the perimeter on offense, just like Crowder does in Boston.
Ojeleye will need to work on some things in order to reach the level Crowder has as one of the best 3-and-D wings as well as an ideal small-ball 4, but he certainly has the tools to make it there.
Fit with the Lakers
Defense and shooting. They are arguably the Lakers’ biggest needs and Ojeleye checks both boxes.
Additionally, many have talked about the rise of ‘positionless basketball’ and Luke Walton is a big proponent of that. In order to pull it off you need versatile players who can play and guard multiple positions and, again, Ojeleye fits the bill.
When a team is picking late in the first round, there are usually two options: swing for the fences on a high-upside player or take a safer guy who projects more as a great role-player. Ojeleye looks to be more of the latter, but the Lakers need great role players to fill in the cracks of this team.