2016 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Guerschon Yabusele

via YouTube

via YouTube

Draft Express released their newest mock draft update over the weekend, and it featured a curious name at the 34th pick. Ahead of more well known international names like Isaia Cordinier and Paul Zipser, sits Guerschon Yabusele, a 20-year old power forward from Rouen Metropole in France. Yabusele hasn’t really received much press this year from NBA Draft analysts, as he toiled away as the starting power forward for the 17th place team in the French Pro A league. While many of his international compatriots were starring in continental competitions or dominating in domestic play, Yabusele quietly has been piecing together a decent season on a bad team, which to this point hasn’t made him particularly notable.

Yabusele was last on draft radars at the Adidas Eurocamp in 2015, where he had a strong three-day performance for the French U20 national team. He posted a 17-point, 4-rebound performance against the U.S. team, then paced the squad with 23 points and nine rebounds against the Greek U19 team. To top it off, he posted 20-and-7 as the U20 squad nearly beat the Eurocamp All-Star team on day 3. From that camp, Yabusele was able to score a contract with Rouen, which allowed him a chance to play full-time in the Pro A league, after spending the previous season as a role player in the 2nd division with Roanne.

For Rouen, Yabusele expanded his role from quality 2nd division starter (8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds per game for Roanne) to quality scorer. As Rouen’s youngest starter, Yabusele finished third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.5 points per game on 57.2 percent shooting to go with 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists. His strong numbers point to the offensive versatility Yabusele could have in the future, which you can see in his 22-point performance against Limoges (Yabusele is #16):


With a good frame and versatile scoring ability, let’s break down why Yabusele is suddenly on draft radars now that the Pro A season has finished.

Offense

Yabusele has the size of a typical European offensive bruiser – he’s 6-8, a solid 240 pounds, and has a massive, well-developed upper body. But while Yabusele isn’t afraid to wrestle for tip-backs and throw his weight around inside, his game hints at a much more versatile style of play. Yabusele appears to enjoy playing as a face-up, away-from-the-basket option, and he has good success with this. His handle is well-developed for his size, and he uses it well to attack bigger defenders off the dribble or create space in the face-up game:

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Yabusele also has great potential as a shooter, with a decent stroke that allowed him to hit 42.6 percent from outside for Rouen on 61 attempts. He needs some continued development on his release to gain more consistency, as he went through cold stretches this year and he struggles with shooting over close-outs. But in the future, there’s potential he can be a pick-and-pop option, something he has done a lot with the French national team. To reach this status, he will need development in screen-setting, as well – Yabusele is prone to slipping screens prematurely and he struggles to use his body to cut off a defender’s path. The raw talents are there for him to slip into this role, but it will take some time.

Yabusele’s post game needs development, but he does show good footwork at this point. His strongest move at this point is spinning against an opponent to create a seal, then catching a lob over the top to get a chance close to the basket:

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He’s also a decent passer out of the post, although he needs to get more consistent with his decision-making. He can be hesitant with the ball at times, and he will force passes across court, trying to hit an open skip pass to a teammate on the perimeter. He makes some very good and crisp passes at times, but he struggles with a high turnover rate (15.0 this season), and a lot of that comes from bad passes.

Yabusele’s offensive game is still fairly raw at this point, but he displays the skill set of a player who should be a solid scorer, both from the perimeter and under the basket. With time, he has the potential to make for a good inside/outside threat at the four, even if lack of consistency will limit his ceiling.

Defense

On the defensive end, Yabusele is a mixed bag. His potential will be limited by his physical profile, as he has a game more well situated to defend fours, but lacks the ideal height and length to do this. He has decent athleticism, but he gets beat off the dribble by perimeter scorers regularly, so he may have some difficulty becoming a good defender in the NBA.

Where Yabusele can stake his claim is that he’s one of the better pick-and-roll defenders in this class. The French U20 team threw him in this look a lot at the FIBA U20 Championships, and he showed a solid ability to hedge and recover, both to the perimeter and the frontcourt:

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Yabusele doesn’t always have the best positioning defensively, but he has been generally effective in one-on-one and off-ball situations. He recovers well when he does get beat, and while he can be overwhelmed by size and quickness, he generally gives good effort and he’s a willing defender both on the perimeter an underneath. He has been a solid defensive rebounder (Defensive rebound rate of 19.4 percent), although I do wonder if he’ll have the same success against larger competition. Overall, Yabusele has decent potential despite his size, and his major issues on this end are problems basically any 20-year old is going to have on defense. That should improve with time, and Yabusele should at least be good enough to stay on the floor.

Overall Impression

While there are concerns about his size as a “tweener” forward, Yabusele appears to have a solid perimeter-oriented game that should be enticing for an NBA team. If his shooting can become more consistent, and he continues to develop defensively, it’s easy to see Yabusele turning into a solid bench scorer at the NBA level, a guy who can slide to the three in bigger lineups and bang underneath as an undersized four. He’s still incredibly raw, so he’s more than likely a draft-and-stash candidate, but given his profile, it would not be a surprise to see him go early in the second round.