Bilal Coulibaly NBA Draft Analysis

Jun 14, 2023, 5:39 PM | Updated: 5:39 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz own three first-round selections in the 2023 NBA draft, and one of the players they’ll consider in June is French guard Bilal Coulibaly.

With a top 10 pick, the 16th pick, and the 28th pick in the first round, the Jazz will work out an enormous swath of players projected to be selected throughout the draft.

Let’s look at how likely lottery pick Bilal Coulibaly has performed during his time with the Metropolitans 92, and how he’d fit with the Jazz.

Bilal Coulibaly Strengths

Averages: 6.0 ppg | 3.0 RPG | 1.0 APG | 53 FG% | 36 3Pt % | 62 FT%

Coulibaly initially jumps off the screen thanks to his impressive physical tools, standing 6-foot-6, with a rumored 7-foot-2 wingspan.

The French guard’s length is apparent upon initial viewings, but it’s far from his only physical gift.

Coulibaly also carries considerable size in his chest and hips, giving him the type of frame that will be easy to add strength to, unlike some of the draft’s longer, lankier guards.

It’s not difficult to imagine Coulibaly having a powerful frame similar to Jaylen Brown or OG Anunoby at a much younger age.

On top of his intriguing length, Coulibaly is one of the top athletes in the draft, exploding in the halfcourt and transitioning for easy finishes above the rim off of one or two feet.

At just 18 years old, the late bloomer already tends to dominate short stretches of games based on his physical gifts alone against older, more mature players.

Skillswise, Coulibaly is a high-effort defender who trusts his athleticism to crowd his man at the point of attack, cut off drives, get deflections, and jump passing lanes.

Like both Brown and Anunoby, Coulibaly should develop into the type of defender who can multiple positions on the perimeter with ease.

Offensively, the young guard has shown growth as a spot-up shooter, is a good slasher toward the basket, a dangerous threat in transition, and has begun to develop as a complimentary ballhandler, and a threat to finish at the hoop with straight-line dribble moves.

Bilal Coulibaly Weaknesses

The relatively significant risk with Coulibaly comes from unknowns that exist within his game.

The guard has only been with the Metropolitans 92 senior club full-time since January, giving him a smaller sample size than even some one-and-done college players projected to be selected in his range.

While Coulibaly dominated the junior ranks in France, he did so largely based on his superior physical tools. That’s not unlike most American high school players, but his recent climb up draft boards is based on his performance in a shorter window.

When watching him, Coulibaly still tries to get by on his superior physical tools, rather than his technique, meaning his game will require some patience before he’s able to help an NBA team.

Offensively, though Coulibaly grew up playing as a guard, he lacks the shot-creation or playmaking skills required to be viewed as a reliable weapon.

The guard’s early offensive production will be the result of teammates setting him up as a spot-up shooter, finding him cutting to the rim, or by scoring in transition.

Like most young players, Coulibaly’s focus on the defensive end tends to wander, especially off the ball. Though he has the physical tools at his current level to recover to contest shots, he’ll have to be much sharper in the NBA.

The Saint-Cloud native tends to be overly aggressive on defense, especially with his feet where he closes out beyond his man on pump fakes or cheats too far when jumping passing lanes.

Though he’s shown some promise as a secondary initiator and straight-line driver, Coulibaly’s ballhandling has a ways to go before it will be a weapon of any kind at the NBA level.

Bilal Coulibaly Overall

Thanks to his incredible physical tools, and overall lack of fatal flaws in his game, Coulibaly deserves to be mentioned among the more exciting projects that should be available in the draft, regardless of where he gets selected.

While his game will take a few years to fully develop, the fact that he’s already starting, and helping the Metropolitans 92 win at the highest levels within their league is extremely promising.

Though the French league he plays in is not top-of-the-line in Europe, it’s littered with familiar faces from American colleges who have had far more time to refine their games than Coulibaly.

There is perhaps a higher bust potential with Coulibaly due to his small sample size and low usage rate, but his upside is as tantalizing as anyone projected to be selected in the middle of the first round.

Where Will Bilal Coulibaly Get Drafted?

Due to his unique physical gifts, his rapid development over the last 18 months, his youth, and the flashes of dominance that he’s already put on film, Coulibaly is likely to be selected in the top half of the first round, beginning with the Utah Jazz at number nine, and falling no further than the mid-teens.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Bilal Coulibaly NBA Draft Analysis