Observations On Jordan Nwora In A World Cup Game

October 21, 2019

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Louisville’s 6-7 junior forward, Jordan Nwora play for Nigeria in a FIBA Basketball World Cup game that took place on September 2nd against Argentina, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via FIBA. Nwora is a talented prospect that is considered to be a potential first round pick for the 2020 NBA Draft, and he was one of only a handful of draft-eligible prospects that were able to play in the 2019 Basketball World Cup. I decided to assess his performance in that game, as he had his highs and lows in his team’s loss to Argentina, but ultimately, this experience could help Nwora as it shows his willingness to participate and test himself at the highest levels of basketball.

Jordan Nwora could be a first round pick in 2020. (Photo: VCG of Getty Images)
Jordan Nwora was a starter for Nigeria in a September 2nd World Cup basketball game, as his team squared off against Argentina. (Photo: VCG of Getty Images)

Jordan Nwora excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He was able to score on an emphatic one-handed dunk off of a cut from the baseline, and he also ran the floor hard to score off the glass in transition another time. He also managed to draw free throws on a high-flying attempt to score on a tip dunk. He would generally get quickly down court to get open for transition scoring opportunities, and Nwora did a very good job of scoring using off-ball movement.

He also was able to use an overhead ball fake, as he used a step back, crossover move to make a nifty pull-up three-pointer to remind people that he is a shooter that can knock down jumpers. However, Nwora generally struggled to knock down jumpers against Argentina, as he opponents would close in on him hard, and he seemed to lack the foot speed to consistently create his own shot. He tended to miss threes both off the catch or dribble, and aside from that nice three-point shot that he made, Nwora generally struggled to make shots in this game.

He also struggled to consistently score on aggressive drives to the hoop. He was able to score early on after driving right off of a screen to score on a tough layup off the glass, and Nwora showed that he can take on the contact to finish some plays around the basket. However, he would tend to miss shots in traffic as he generally had trouble getting to the hoop, and he also had his shots blocked a couple of times. He lacks an elite first step off the dribble, and he also seemed to struggle to accurately use the glass on occasion.

Also, Nwora displayed adequate playmaking skills. He was able to push the ball up the floor off of a steal to find an open shooter on the break to notch an assist, and he also collected another by getting it to a teammate on a dribble handoff. He is an unselfish player that will move the basketball, and he was even called upon to bring the ball up the floor a few times in this game. He didn’t really show a tight handle, as there were times where it seemed that he would almost lose the basketball when he would bring the ball up. His lone turnover came when he tried to drive to the hoop, but then threw an interior pass that got deflected and intercepted by a defender.

Also, Nwora was able to get his fair share of boards when he was on the floor. He would run in to go for rebounds, and he was able to leap up high to get a defensive rebound once, as he would tend to bring the ball up off of defensive boards.

Probably the most interesting aspect was that Nwora played good defense in this game. He showed an impressive knack to get steals, as he would run in to catch and intercept passes to get steals, and he was able to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get another. Nwora was able to run in quickly to jump on a loose ball that an opposing ball handler had lost to collect a steal, and early on he poked a ball away off of a drive due to possessing good hands, reach, and instincts to do so. Plus, he will quickly make his rotations to force passes, and he also was able to contest a three to get his man to miss the shot.

At times, he would not make his rotations in time, which can cause him and his teammates to be put in compromising situations. There was one play where he didn’t pick up a man, as it was too late for him to rotate to guard his man on a drive, which prompted his teammate to foul him inside the paint. Another time, Nwora over-rotated by wandering to try to help in the post, but was late to rotate back to his man, as he allowed his opponent to make a corner three-point shot. Nwora also had some trouble fighting through screens, which can lead him to be late on his rotations, and there was one play where he and his teammate didn’t run hard on defense, which put his teammate in a tough spot to defend a 3 on 1 in transition.

In general, Jordan Nwora is a skilled combo forward that could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA. He is a talented shooter that is very active defensively, and he also is an above average athlete that can finish plays above the rim. However, he also struggled to continually score off the dribble, and he had trouble making shots consistently in this game. Currently, he may project to go in the late first to the second round range for the right now. Whether or not if he succeeds in the NBA may largely hinge on his jump shot, and Nwora is a talented player that could be a solid role player in the mold of a Morris Peterson type in the association.