The Atlanta Hawks worked out six big men last Saturday, and one, in particular, stood out: 18-year old Sekou Doumbouya from France. But Doumboya is more than just a “big man,” he is more of a combo/forward. He stands at 6’9″ and uses his size and 6’11” wingspan to play elite defense. His potential is based off his freak athleticism, something every NBA team is looking for.
Doumbouya played last season for Limoges CSP of the LNB Pro A, France’s highest league. His inexperience and a thumb injury limited his playing time, but he flashed enough to be a potential lottery pick.
A big reason why many call him a project is the fact that he has only been playing basketball for a few years. This is what makes him such an intriguing fit for the Hawks. Not only could he play the 3/4 and allow them to play some small ball with both Collins and Sekou, but he would also add some much-needed defense, at least in the long run.
Doumbouya is a dream for Atlanta’s player development program. The Hawks have done a terrific job with John Collins, Trae Young, and Kevin Huerter since the arrival of Lloyd Pierce and the shift in franchise direction towards development. Regarding the way Atlanta has groomed their young talent, Sekou thinks it is “a good thing.” He also loved the Hawks’ “beautiful” practice facility.
In the workout, I can’t say he made every jump shot, but his motion looked great, and he looked a lot more fluid than the other big men. He shot 34.3% in France last season, and there is some room for improvement. He showed the physical tools and athleticism that give him a great shot at being a lottery pick. I did not get a glimpse at his defense, but his build gives him the potential to be a lockdown defender. When asked, Sekou claims he thinks he can guard all five positions in the NBA. If he can properly develop, he could be the luxury every team dreams of – a long, two-way wing who can take over in every aspect of the game. Here is some tape on him:
Doumbouya compares his game to Pascal Siakam. They have a similar size and style of play, and the numbers back that up:
Sekou Doumbouya's measurements from his Pro Day today are awfully impressive, and eerily similar to Pascal Siakam. We already knew about the height/reach, but he's gotten significantly stronger in the past 16 months, gaining 21 pounds. Siakam was 4 years older at the same stage. pic.twitter.com/N1YIlQiLns
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 9, 2019
If he can keep improving his shot, he could be a very similar type of player, or even better. But Sekou more so compared his game to Siakam defensively.
While he is raw, the Hawks have time to develop him as they try to build a contender organically. If somehow Atlanta stays at 8 and 10, it could be the right decision to use one of the two as the ultimate lottery ticket based on upside.
Sekou said he has also worked out for the Timberwolves, Spurs, Bulls, and Wizards. He is very familiar with the NBA and watches “every game.” Well, in a handful of months, the spotlight will be on him. Perhaps it will be in Atlanta. If they stay put, mocks are suggesting he falls right into their range. Whatever team takes him will be doing so in hopes of selecting the next international star.