Christian Koloko, Arizona
Christian Koloko is a late bloomer who hails from Cameroon. He didn’t start playing basketball until he was 15, and it wasn’t his primary sport until he turned 17. Hm! It would be a cool story for him and Joel Embiid to be on the same team, especially if he pans out. And there’s a good chance he does given the constant rate of improvement over such a short span of time.
Now 22 years old and with three seasons at Arizona under his belt, Koloko looks worthy of a first-round pick. He’s one of the best athletes in the draft, standing 6-foot-11 with a massive 7-foot-4 wingspan. He was the perpetrator behind some of the best dunks in college basketball last season, and that athleticism translates to the defensive end too.
Koloko is a capable switch defender. The Wildcats played a lot of bigs, which meant Koloko was often guarding the perimeter. He’s not Bam Adebayo, but he can contain the point of attack and give guards trouble when he’s switched out there. The Sixers don’t presently have a true switch big. James Harden spent some of the best years of his career in a switch-all system, and Koloko would more than satiate any desire to provide Harden with a vertical threat around the rim.
He’s still extremely raw and would probably need time to grow slowly. Paul Reed is more than capable of holding down the fort while Koloko develops, but it’s fair to ask if Philadelphia should use such a valuable first round pick on a fourth center who wouldn’t play next season. The answer is probably no, but there’s enough raw talent and upside to make Koloko worth a look.