San Antonio Spurs 2018-19 Performance Review: Chimezie Metu

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 6: Chimezie Metu #7 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2019 (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 6: Chimezie Metu #7 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2019 (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The second edition of the San Antonio Spurs’ end-of-season performance reviews covers second-round selection Chimezie Metu, an interesting prospect with high upside.

Selected with the 49th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, hybrid forward/center Chimezie Metu touted a diverse skill set to pair with explosive athleticism and notable size. Standing at 6-foot-10 with broad shoulders and great leaping ability, Metu is a great recipient in the pick-and-roll while stretching the floor with a delicate jump shot and high basketball IQ.

Metu appeared in 145 minutes through 29 regular season games for the Spurs, mostly in garbage time and limited situational minutes. He didn’t shoot very well, making only 19-of-58 field goal attempts for a 32.8 percent field goal percentage. Still, his numbers per 100 possessions show off his potential. The 22-year-old posted 17.2 points, 12.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per 100 possessions.

While Metu has a long way to go as an offensive threat, his active hands and feet make him a solid prospect from a defensive perspective. He posted 1.5 steals per 36 minutes in his rookie year and really showcased his defensive potential as a member of the Austin Spurs.

In the G League, Metu posted an average stat line of 14 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.3 blocks and 0.7 steals in 27.3 minutes per game. Similarly, to his stats in the NBA, Metu isn’t the most efficient player with a 49.5 percent field goal percentage amongst G League competition.

There’s a lot to like about Chimezie Metu, but he remains a raw prospect through his first season under the Spurs. His identity as a player is yet to be determined with no single skill setting itself apart from the others, which was one of the main knocks against him as a prospect coming out of the University of Southern California.

Metu utilizes a combination of skills on offense with the short hook shot and face-up playstyle serving him best. He’s skilled at making plays for himself as a screener, oftentimes rushing to the rim for a lob dunk or layup. His strength allows him to finish through contact on his way to the rack while his leaping ability often puts him in position for put-back dunks and tip-ins. He’s constantly zoned in to the glass and tracks down loose rebounds with ease.

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Although he’ll never quite be a primary playmaker, Metu has a Draymond Green-like aura surrounding him as a player for his ability to handle the ball and create plays where others at his position may find themselves lost. He’s got the underlying qualities of a modern four, but stills needs to realize his potential through time, experience and inevitable growth.

The Spurs will probably make a decision on his future after the Summer League and training camp take place, but the second-round pick is a lock for the team’s roster, making roughly $1.4 million in the 2019-2020 season.

This will give him a better chance to work his way into the team’s regular season rotation or continue learning from the organization’s expert training staff.

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There are no guarantees with Metu’s future, but it would be completely unsurprising to see him break into the rotation next season and eventually find his role for Gregg Popovich.

Check out our other 2018-19 Performance Reviews:

Bryn Forbes

Jakob Poeltl

Lonnie Walker

Drew Eubanks