International spotlight: the enigmatic Ousmane N’Diaye – NBA Draft Digest

Ousmane N’Diaye has generated almost equal amounts of buzz and intrigue among international scouts over the past three years. In early 2020, N’Diaye put in an outstanding performance for Bayern Munich at the Szent Istvan U16 Basketball Cup in Hungary, where he showed impressive perimeter skills for his age and height, being able to pose the ball on the ground, to create space against the opponents. head to head and shoot the basketball.

After the COVID pandemic led to the cancellation of the entire 2020-21 basketball season in Germany as well as all youth basketball tournaments in Europe, we finally had the chance to see N’Diaye again during of the 2021-22 season playing for Dragons Rhöndorf in Germany’s Third Division, where he saw significant minutes and continued to show flashes of perimeter skill for his size.

After his performance at the FIBA ​​U18 Africa Championships last month, it’s time to dive into the tape and see how the Senegalese prospect could contribute to winning at the NBA level.

Notes of recognition

The first thing that stands out about N’Diaye is how fluid he is for his size. Standing at 6ft 11in with long legs and arms, N’Diaye handles the ball with the fluidity of a perimeter player, using his long arms to keep a low dribble point. He really shines in drive initiation, where he uses a number of dribbling moves (crossovers, in-and-outs) to unbalance defenders and attack the rim.

As good as he is at initiating drives, N’Diaye is limited as a finisher, as he has shot just 32% in the restricted area among Africa’s U18s according to InStat. The key factor is his lack of strength, which prevents him from creating separation against similarly sized opponents and forces him to perform turnovers or difficult low-percentage shots farther from the edge.

N’Diaye, however, also shows the ability to contribute as a goalscorer from the perimeter, as his shooting ability is excellent for someone of his size and age. At the African U18s, N’Diaye converted 32.1% of the 8.8 3-point shots he attempted per game; exceptional volume and percentages when you consider the lack of shooting around him and above all, the level of difficulty of the shots he tries.

N’Diaye is an effective shooter out of the grip, showing repeatable mechanics and deep reach, but even more impressive are his shooting moments out of the dribble, where he uses his manipulation ability to create space in situations. ISO against defenders. before getting up for the stepback riders. N’Diaye is able to convert shots under pressure and off balance, showing a great level of deceleration that allows him to stop and jump for jumpers, both as a transition manager or after beating his man in the half court.

Defensively, N’Diaye always seems to be looking for an optimal role. He contributes as a prolific defensive rebounder and is able to contest shots with relative ease due to his height and standing reach. However, while he was effective in that area at the junior level, it’s hard to see him having a similar impact to a full-time five at the NBA level from day one due to his aforementioned lack of strength.

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Although he contributes as a perimeter defender using his height and length to challenge jumpers and disturb riders on their way to the rim, his narrow hips and high center of gravity prevent him from stooping in a defensive stance and rotate their hips quickly to cover the discs.

NBA Questions and Projections

N’Diaye has clear potential as a shot-maker in both jump shots and drives to the basket, with the main question in those areas being how consistent he can be.

N’Diaye will move to Spain for the upcoming 2022-23 season where he will play for Baskonia. If he continues to make an impact as a self-creator and is able to sustain his level of play for an entire season at his new destination, then I don’t expect many NBA teams to put on even in question if the skills are there. However, I expect teams to wonder how they can use his unique combination of size and skill to win games.

With the measurements of a great, the skills of a perimeter player and some glaring weaknesses that will need to be addressed before contributing to winning at the NBA level, N’Diaye is a curious case.

In my opinion, it all starts with his growth in his body, as getting stronger will solve or mask some of the current shortcomings in his game.

Given his body type, his optimal defensive role is likely to be that of an off-ball defender who uses his length to cover bigger attackers in the perimeter and protects the rim on a secondary level, helping to challenge and block the shots after penetration. But to do that, he’ll have to get stronger, or he might just be bullied by the size of the NBA’s biggest forwards.

Offensively, getting stronger would allow him to improve as a driver, which then turns him into a threat to score not only from beyond the arc but also on the rim.

As tends to happen with enigmatic prospects, the floor is low with him, but being a two-tiered self-maker at 6ft 11in is as rare as it is valuable and N’Diaye definitely has the skills and tools to do so. become one. Once June 2023 rolls around, his cap might prove too attractive for some NBA teams to pass up at some point in the draft.

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