Daniel Oturu Falling Down [Sometimes Out] NBA Mock Drafts and Big Boards Everywhere

Photo: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports


After declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft in March, former Minnesota Gopher, Daniel Oturu, has done a lot of waiting… The draft was supposed to be June 25 (5 days from now) and the lottery should have happened back in April. Normally, Dan might have an idea of where he could be slotted, by now, or, at the least, know which teams are most interested.

Not this year. Instead, we’re looking at a lottery that won’t be held until August 25 and we have no details on that yet. When is the draft, you ask? Maybe October 14… maybe. Everything is technically still up in the air.

Whenever the draft festivities do start, though, Daniel Oturu seems ready. In his Sophomore season, Oturu averaged 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game, numbers good enough to earn him 2019-20 All-Big Ten Second Team (1st-team snub) and 2019-20 All-Big Ten Defense First Team Awards.



Oturu regularly showed that he deserved those awards, and maybe deserved more. Some of his best games came against powerhouses Michigan, Penn State, and Maryland.

The Numbers

In those games, Oturu averaged 30.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks, while also shooting an excellent 67.1% from the field. Here are his full stats from those games:



MPPointsRebounds BlocksFGM/AFG%
vs. Michigan35307013-18.722
@ Penn State363216312-23.522
vs. Maryland382811110-13.769
Stats from SportsReference.com

If you are not satisfied with that, the Cretin-Derham Hall graduate also averaged 22.0 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.4 rebounds during the last five games of the regular season, showing that he did not slow down as the season came to an end. 



MPPointsReboundsBlocksFGM/AFG%
@ Northwestern30221238-11.727
vs. Maryland382811110-13.769
@ Wisconsin36261229-19.474
@Indiana392416011-27.407
vs. Nebraska2210614-7.571
Stats from SportsReference.com

Experts see some of Oturu’s strengths, as three-point shooting, playmaking and defense. Those are traits he showed often at Minnesota, along with a pretty smooth mid-range shot too.

But, where do NBA teams see him. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, Dan is off to spread his wings at the NBA level. A lot has unraveled around the world, since he declared. On top of that, workouts and meetings have all been virtual, so far.

Whatever hype he had leaving the season, seams to be fading. Before coronavirus shut down the country, Dan was rising up draft boards everywhere. Some had him in lottery conversations. Now, he is struggling to stick in the first round of most mock drafts. Here is where he stands, as of now, according to multiple different NBA draft websites. 

Yahoo! Sports

28th Overall to the Toronto Raptors – updated 5/21/20

“Oturu is quietly climbing up team’s draft boards thanks to his size and strength he showcased in the paint this year. It’s difficult to tell how his game will translate to the NBA but he’s a solid big who can defend well in the post and gets up and down the court well for his size.”


NBC Sports

28th Overall to the Toronto Raptors – updated 6/17/20

“In a league where seemingly every team had a dominant interior player, Daniel Oturu has been arguably the best two-way center in the Big Ten. The numbers that he put up speak for themselves. He was one of the most improved players in the country. He doesn’t have the greatest feel for the game, and he’s something of a blackhole when he does get the ball in his hands, but he has shown off a bit of three-point range and is actually able to put the ball on the floor and make things happen off the bounce. I think his fit as a five in the NBA is better than some of the bigs slotted in front of him.”


TheRookieWire (USAToday)

33rd overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves – 6/16/20

“Daniel Oturu was a sophomore sensation, averaging 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. His defensive rebound percentage (23.3%) ranked in the top 10 among high-major underclassmen. While questions surround whether or not he passes the eye test when scouts actually watch his film, his numbers are undeniably impressive, and he warrants attention anywhere from the mid-first to early second round.”


NBADraftRoom.com

33rd overall to the 76ers – updated 6/17/20

“His ability to alter shots and control the boards give him instant value at the NBA level and he’s looking more and more like a first round pick. Although he’s not a polished offensive player he shows some ability to score with his back to the basket or by facing up and taking his man off the dribble.”


SportsIllustrated

39th Overall to the New Orleans Pelicans – updated 6/3/20

The Athletic

Ranked 27th on NBA Draft Big Board

CBSsports.com

Undrafted (1 round draft) – updated 6/16/20

Bleacher Report

Undrafted (1 round draft) – updated 6/8/20

NBADraft.net

14th overall to the Portland Trailblazers – updated 6/12/20 


These predictions are all over the place, leaving me wondering if Dan could slide up into the teens as we approach the draft. I guess we’ll find out. Good luck, Dan.

Carson Ruen | Minnesota Sports Fan