Our NBA Draft profile series continues on InsideTheACC, as we take a look at North Carolina’s top draft prospect in wing player J.P. Tokoto. Although he had an up-and-down career for the Tar Heels, his outlook professionally still remains bright. Let’s take a look at what he brings to the table.
SG/SF J.P. Tokoto, North Carolina
- Age 21
- 6’6″ 196 lbs.
- Wingspan: 6’10”
- No-Step Vertical: 34.5″
- Max Vertical: 40″
J.P. Tokoto is without a doubt one of the most athletic players in this year’s NBA Draft. Throughout his three-year playing career at North Carolina, Tokoto provided plenty for the fans in Chapel Hill to cheer about from his high-flying dunks, to his impressive perimeter defense against some of the best players in the country.
Tokoto has a penchant for shutting down the opponent’s best player on a given night due to his 6’6″ frame and impressive 6’10” wingspan, which causes smaller guards fits on the offensive end and allows him to pull down rebounds at a high rate for a backcourt player. Couple his body with top-flight athleticism and it is not difficult to see why numerous NBA teams have already requested for him to workout with them in advance of the June 25th draft. He averaged nearly six rebounds per game over his final two seasons in Chapel Hill, and averaged over a steal and a half per game in that same span, proving what a nightmare he is to gameplan for without him even possessing the ball on offense.
Tokoto is an interesting prospect because for all the good he does on the glass and on the defensive end, he is a project offensively. In his career at North Carolina, Tokoto averaged only 6.7 points per game. Although he shot nearly 50% from the floor, a majority of his opportunities came near the rim, and often struggled with his jump shot. He showed a marked improvement from outside of the paint as his time wore on at North Carolina, but his hesitancy on offense when the team needed a second scorer was a narrative throughout this past season for the powdered blue. Additionally, as much as Tokoto took it to the hoop, he was not able to capitalize on his numerous opportunities at three-point plays after getting fouled, shooting only 61% from the line in his final season at UNC, which unfortunately was also a career high for him from the charity stripe. He will need to improve his free throw shooting at the next level, as not many players, let alone wing players, shoot it that poorly from the foul line.
I truly believe with a better defined offensive game, Tokoto would be a fringe lottery player due to his other proven traits of speed, athleticism, and defense ability. However, due to his tribulations on offense, it is likely he will fall out of the first round and into the early stages of the second. He has the potential to be a steal there, especially for a team that is looking to become more athletic on the perimeter and is willing to wait on his continued offensive improvement.
NBA Draft Projection: Early Second Round