Onyeka Okongwu Could Play For Philippines At 2024 Paris Olympics

Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks, Philippines, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

Atlanta Hawks center Onyeka Okongwu is a blossoming player. He has seen his role and production increase each season in the NBA since being selected No. 6 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Last season, Okongwu played in 80 games in the regular season, starting 18 of them in place of Clint Capela when he was out of the lineup. Okongwu played well when his number was called, averaging 9.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 blocks and 0.7 steals per game.

While his offensive game remains a bit raw, as he relies on others to set him up for easy baskets and put-backs, Okongwu is already a difference-maker defensively. He is an excellent rim protector and is athletic enough to switch onto players on the perimeter.

The skill set is there for Okongwu to be an anchor for a team defensively. Whether that is with the Hawks or another franchise, as he is extension-eligible, is still up in the air. Atlanta has until the day before the regular season, October 24th, to get a deal done or he will become a restricted free agent next summer.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Onyeka Okongwu & Atlanta Hawks Updates

While that is where Okongwu’s attention lies, he is being courted by basketball teams internationally. According to Naveen Ganglani, the Philippines Men’s Basketball Team is interested in adding Okongwu as a naturalized player.

Ganglani notes the Filipino community that Okongwu grew up around in Chino Hills as a reason he could consider such a move. In addition, he has also trained with Alex Cabagnot, a star in the Philippine Basketball Association and for the national team.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Onyeka Okongwu & Atlanta Hawks Updates

The Philippines aren’t the only team that is reportedly pursuing Okongwu to join their team. Nigeria has also expressed interest in naturalizing Okongwu so that he could play for them in International competitions, but Ganglani believes PH has a leg up.

From the sounds of it, Okongwu’s free agency in the NBA would be rivaled by that on the international landscape. Playing for either team will only help him expand his skill set and repertoire in preparation for his NBA obligations.

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About Kenneth Teape 3855 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.