08 February 2016

Arinze Onuaku's Strengths and Weaknesses

Arinze Unuaku
With only days to go before they start their campaign for a respectable finish in the 2016 Commissioner's Cup, the Meralco Bolts are hoping that the injury of import Malcolm Thomas is a blessing in disguise as they are set to bring a much-more experienced Arinze Onuaku.

Powerhouse San Miguel Beermen was supposed to bring him last year as their reinforcement, but Arize backed out after 6 NBA teams showed interest on his services. He was then fresh off a stint in China's NBL where he averaged 28.6 points and 14.8 rebounds. He also posted norms of 17.8 points and 12.3 rebounds in 12 games for the Canton Charge in the NBA D-League.

But can Arinze deliver where the Bolts needed him? Here are some few surprises strengths and weaknesses from NBA scouts a few years ago.

Arinze has size and strength, and at 6-foot-9, 275 lbs, he is frequently the largest player on the court in the college game. He has above average awareness in the post in regards to what's happening around him, rarely forces up bad shots.

He also shows good footwork down low, uses a quick and effective drop step as his main move to get himself an open layup. Destructively powerful bigman with an ultra efficient offensive game, Arinze his college team in FG% shooting a miraculous 67 percent.

He is literally an immovable object in the post. Arinze is almost impossible to keep off the block, and once he gets position, it's impossible to get him off the spot. He usually anchors himself to the floor because of his tremendous upper body and lower body strength.

Arinze is a solid finisher around the basket, can use both hands effectively and uses his body nicely to fend off defenders. His forte includes excellent touch from 6 feet out by using both hands effectively around the basket, including a deft lefty jump hook. One thing that stands out also is that Arinze rarely fails to convert on layups, even after contact.

The Bolts' shooters will benefit from Arinze's ability to pass effectively out of double team, usually hitting the safest target.

As for the Meralco bigs, Arinze does a decent job of boxing out his man, which can help them secure the rebounds. However his lack of explosiveness limits him from grabbing more rebounds. Defensively he can sit in the middle of the zone and does his job of clogging the lane.

What is impressive though is that he can run the floor pretty well for his size, and only averages 1.4 turnovers per game.

For a guy his size, Arinze doesn't dominate the boards or in the paint nearly as much as he should. He's only effective when he has great one on one post position, and is much better when he doesn't put the ball on the floor.

He can't face up to the basket, which limits his offensive game, ranging from dunk, to layup, to 4-foot baby hook shot. He lacks any type explosiveness: on second chance points he gets tips instead of grabbing possession. In 22.5 minutes per game, for instance, he only averages only 4.8 rebounds in college.

Arinze is an atrocious free throw shooter at best, which completely affects his style of play late in games- becomes un-aggressive and passive, almost as if he's afraid to get fouled and go to the line. His percentage dropped from 45 percent as a Sophomore to an unthinkable 29 percent in Junior college. Not surprisingly, his lack of confidence at the stripe began to inhibit the rest of his game as he usually tries to avoid contact.

He is usually taken out in the last 3-5 minutes of any close game due to his lack of effectiveness and horrid free throw shooting. He also appeared to mentally check out of games because of his failures to convert at the line.

Overall, he can put the ball in the basket because of a decent first step and size advantage, but his offensive game is too limited, he's a below average rebounder, and does nothing defensively to warrant much excitement at the NBA level.

Hopefully, his international exposure has improved his basketball IQ and helped him regain confidence and find consistency and hunger to dominate from game to game.

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