A quick scouting report on North Carolina’s surprise NBA Draft prospect J.P. Tokoto. Does his game translate to the NBA?
6-6 SG/SF Junior 200
As North Carolina swingman J.P. Tokoto heads to the NBA, how does his game translate to the next level? Tokoto looks like a future NBA slam-dunk champion. Heck, I’d love to see a 2016 Slam Dunk Contest featuring a trio of Zach LaVine (this year’s winner), K.J. McDaniels (another high-flying rookie from this rookie class) and Tokoto go head-to-head. The intrigue with Tokoto is the growth he showed during his junior campaign where he showed versatility to impact the offensive side of the floor to match his defensive prowess.
Tokoto has taken on a bigger role this season. He continues to run the floor and attack the rim ferociously, but has been much more of a facilitator. He averaged a career-high 4.3 assists per game this season while improving as a perimeter threat: Tokoto made 12 threes on 32 attempts (37.5 percent) after shooting just eight of 36 (22.2 percent) as a sophomore. Tokoto also led the Tar Heels in turnovers, so he must improve upon his decision-making for the next level.
He has good size for either wing position, somewhere between 6-6 and 6-7, with a 6-9 wingspan. His sheer size on the wing creates problems defensively, as well as the quickness to stick with even the best athletes. Tokoto was named to the ACC’s All-Defensive team the past two seasons. He came to North Carolina purely as an athlete and his skills are just finally starting to catch up. That’s part of the intrigue with Tokoto, how early in his development is he? Most teams will look at him as a second-round pick, similar to Clemson junior swingman K.J. McDaniels in the 2014 draft.
McDaniels developed much more of a perimeter game during his final two years at Clemson, making 74 out of 234 (31.6 percent). Compare that to Tokoto, who shot a lowly 20 out of 68 (29.4 percent).
K.J. McDaniels vs. J.P. Tokoto Shot Chart
While McDaniels shot more three-pointers, he was less efficient than Tokoto from that range. To contrast, Tokoto took most of his shots from mid-range and was still less efficient from that distance than McDaniels. It’s clear that Tokoto needs to work on his perimeter game in order to make it at the next level, but he’s betting on his development to continue as it has throughout the past two years at North Carolina.
NBA comparison: K.J. McDaniels