The French colony present for the NBA Summer Leagues has known very diverse destinies, starting with Juhann Begarin who shone with the Celtics on the one hand, and a Yves Pons or a Hugo Besson who were only entitled to to crumbs…
After taking stock of the rookies on Monday, Basket USA invites you to take a tour of the French performances during these Summer Leagues.
Juhann Begarin (Boston)
On reserve last summer for his debut across the Atlantic, Juhann Begarin has moved up a gear this year. The 19-year-old Parisian back ended his second American tour with a gem of a match with 25 points plus 7 rebounds and 3 assists, all in percussion and aggression towards the circle with several baskets plus the fault.
Closing his second summer league in 12th place among the top scorers with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, he is clearly the good news of a tricolor clan which is also very discreet. Determined to get his points alone, the native of Abymes was opportunistic, even if he was not necessarily very skilful, with 43% success in shots including 33% from 3-pointers.
The most important thing was to be sharp and involved throughout, a completed contract for Juhann Begarin. In frequent contact with the Massachusetts franchise throughout the year, he should still spend a season in Europe before joining the C’s. At the time of writing, his “draft & stash” is working wonderfully.
Moussa Diabate (LA Clippers)
Selected in the 43rd choice of the last Draft, Moussa Diabaté (2m11, 20 years old) could only play two games in Las Vegas, after a small right ankle injury, but with 9 points and 7 rebounds on average, the former from Michigan had an encouraging debut with the Clippers.
Against Memphis, against whom he held, Moussa Diabaté split with a nice movement at the low post, with a chained spin of a dunk for 10 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes. Mobile interior with a huge engine, he has already caught the eye of Lawrence Frank, the president of the Clippers, who appreciates his infectious energy.
“With him, everything starts with his personality. As a player, his engine is at a very high level. He has really good agility and I think he can become an interior that can switch. [sur les écrans]. He is well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. »
Ousmane Dieng (Oklahoma City)
It was the Frenchman who played the most since he was also in Salt Lake City where he averaged 7.3 points on 26% on shots. In Las Vegas, same clumsiness with 10 points at 4/12 on shots against the Rockets. After a one-game break, Ousmane Dieng (2m08, 19 years old) managed to come out of his shell a little more with a 12-point game at 5 of 8 on shots against the Kings.
A performance marred by a fracture in the right wrist. With 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist on average over the five games, Ousmane Dieng was very delicate with his shot, only 34% success including a small 20% behind the arc…
Drafted high by the Thunder, he is clearly a “project” for OKC who sees in him (like Aleksej Pokusevski before him) a large player capable of becoming a creator as well as a finisher. Still slender and rather slow for the NBA game, Ousmane Dieng will have to work on his physique to hope to get playing time in Oklahoma this year, failing which he will expose himself to round trips in the G-League….
Olivier Sarr (Phoenix)
Passed by Oklahoma City at the end of last season, Olivier Sarr (2m13, 23 years old) had won a summer contract with the Suns. True to his game, namely near the circle plus the occasional arrow from afar, the former Kentucky was rather productive with averages of 8 points, 8 rebounds, 1.6 against in 14 minutes (3 games including 2 starts) .
Projected over 36 minutes, his production would give 20 points, 20 rebounds and 4 blocks. Like his double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds (plus 2 blocks) achieved in just 13 minutes against Dallas, Olivier Sarr is an NBA player still looking for the “good opportunity”.
Represented by Bill Duffy, an agent who weighs in the United States, he will have to play the watch without waiting too long either. After having already lived a season between the G-League and the NBA, the young interior would do better to test himself in a big European club…
Killian Hayes (Detroit)
Again on deck for the summer league, for the second year in a row after two rather disappointing seasons with the Pistons, Killian Hayes simply played one game in Las Vegas. Enough to drop a small 7 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 6 fouls in 22 minutes.
Nothing too fancy for Killian Hayes who will have to face tough competition in Michigan, with Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey already well established, plus Jaden Ivey and Saben Lee who will also bravely play their chances. The Pistons will have the option of keeping the French leader for a fourth year, but the latter will have to be more enterprising if he does not want to pack his bags.
Alpha Kaba (Atlanta)
Already in the Summer League in 2018 and 2019, Alpha Kaba has decided to try his luck again this summer. Obviously still in good contact with the Hawks who drafted him in 2017, he was counting on surfing on his good season in Turkey, where he was elected MVP of the season after finishing as the best rebounder in the championship (among the best in Europe ).
But alas, once again, he did not really have the opportunity to shine with only 12 minutes on average for 5 points and 3 rebounds on average. Getting better and better physically over the matches, he seems to have been too slow at the start to hope to find his place in the Hawks’ summer team. This third vain attempt seems to sound the death knell for the NBA dreams of the young French interior (currently coveted by Hapoel Tel Aviv)…
Ishmael Kamagate (Denver)
Holder four times in the painting of the Nuggets, Ismaël Kamagate (2m11, 21 years old) arrived without great pressure in Las Vegas and the young pivot of Paris Basket bravely played his luck, finishing at 5 points and 5 rebounds on average in 19 minutes of play.
Drafted last June at 46th place, he is still a rough insider in attack (even if he is starting to get his shots a little at mid-range) but Mike Malone, the Denver coach, is already under the spell of the Frenchman’s defensive potential.
After testing Petr Cornelie this season, the Nuggets may want to offer a contract to Kamagate whose profile is significantly more defensive, with a lot of deterrence in the circle, and lateral mobility too.
Joel Ayayi (Atlanta)
Drafted by the Lakers last summer after a Draft that had forgotten him, Joël Ayayi spent a good part of his first pro season in the G-League, managing to play a few NBA games (7) with the Wizards through a “two-way contract”.
This summer, the former Gonzaga had changed his tunic again, donning that of the Hawks with Alpha Kaba. But, if the young leader was entitled to a significant playing time (21 minutes on average), he did not manage to transform them into sufficiently flashy figures, only 5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 interception of average (over five games including three in the five majors).
A team player par excellence with his versatility and offensive timidity, Joël Ayayi also seems to be heading towards a return through Europe, having failed to blend into the NBA mold where you need a big strong point to distinguish…
“Joel is a very intelligent player”sums up Nick Van Exel, his coach this summer with the Hawks, “He cuts at the right time, he gives himself in defense. He is one of those guys who unite a collective. He knows how to do a lot of little things on the pitch, and when he’s there, our game falls into place. »
Sylvain Francisco (Milwaukee)
Passed by American high schools before landing in Levallois, Paris then Roanne, Sylvain Francisco evolved this season in Spain, in Manresa, for a very good exercise with 10 points and 3 assists on average.
Playmaker, he was trying his luck in the summer league for the first time with Milwaukee and, as often with the Europeans, he was used very sporadically, with 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists in 10 minutes of play (2 matches).
Currently tracked by Maccabi Tel Aviv, Francisco has opened the door to the NBA. But to fully open it, it will take a lot more than that…
Yves Pons (Brooklyn)
Preview twelve times with the Grizzlies last season, Yves Pons was left free by the Tennessee franchise. Recruited by the Nets for the summer league, Pons has not had a better fate with only 7 minutes of play in three games for anecdotal statistics at 1.6 points and 1 rebound.
Hampered by knee problems, he could not have defended his chances completely. But this type of performance in the summer league is not to reassure after a season spent doing the lift between the G-League and the NBA benches…
Hugo Besson (Milwaukee)
It’s one of the disappointments of the summer. After his great season in New Zealand, alongside Ousmane Dieng, Hugo Besson (1m96, 21 years old) was only entitled to black bread in Las Vegas, with 2.5 points and 2 rebounds on average in 11 minutes ( 4 games). Worse, the former sniper from St Quentin was particularly out of order with only 19% on shots, including 17% from 3-pointers!
Drafted at the very end of the second round, in 58th place, Hugo Besson will in all likelihood have to wait another season before hoping to enter the (very ambitious) workforce of the Bucks. Some rather upscale European clubs (including Vitoria) are already rubbing their hands… Unless he joins Victor Wembanyama at the Boulogne-Levallois Mets.