Analyzing Elie Okobo and Amine Noua

March 3, 2018

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Pau-Orthez’s point guard, Elie Okobo play this season, as he did so in a French League basketball game against fellow prospect Amine Noua and ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne on February 3rd.  I was able to see them play in a match online, with thanks to YouTube via Manakyan11.  Okobo played very well, as impressed with his shooting and scoring skills, ability to facilitate and defend, and he is also a smart player that possesses good athleticism.  Amine Noua excelled as a shooter and help defender in this contest.  Here are my thoughts on how both of them fared on this day.

Pau-Orthez’s 6-2 point guard, Elie Okobo played really well in this game, as he showed off strong all-around skills, as well as good athleticism, and a high basketball IQ to lead his team to a close win over ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne.  Okobo shot the ball very well, as he excelled at knocking down jumpers from all over the court to really space the floor for his team.  He is an agile player that can skillfully handle the basketball, and he would use quick dribble moves to deftly create separation from his defender before making pull-up threes effortlessly off the dribble.  He also managed to make an open three off the catch, and Okobo did a great job of making long-range shots from beyond the arc. 

Plus, Okobo did a great job of knocking down pull-up mid-range jumpers.  On one play, he drove really fast to the rim, and he used a pump fake and a pivot move prior to scoring on a nifty, fadeaway jumper while also drawing an extra free throw simultaneously.  He also did a great job of drawing fouls upon the opposition, as his ability to make quick step-back moves and dribble around defenders really made it difficult for the opposition to guard him.

He also did a very good job of scoring on quick drives to the basket.  Okobo can finish plays with either hand, and he is adept at dribbling around screens to make his moves towards the hoop.  He managed to score on an acrobatic reverse layup when driving to his right.  On another play, he dribbled around a screen, and he used a quick spin move to score off the glass.  Okobo has very good ball handling skills and footwork, combined with possessing a good first step and acceleration, and he was often able to use that to his advantage.  But he did miss once on a reverse layup when attempting to drive baseline, as he was unable to score in traffic that time, though he was often able to do so in this game.

Also, Okobo showed off solid playmaking skills in this game.  He is a patient player that possesses very good court vision as he sees the floor well, and he does a good job of throwing interior passes as well as passes off the dribble to set up numerous scores for his teammates.  He can push the pace to find a teammate ahead on the break, and he also can find cutters and roll men to set up dunks for his teammates.  He did not turn the ball over, but he did so once, as he threw a questionable pass that ended up getting intercepted late in this contest.  In this game, he was able to chip in to get a few defensive boards for his team, as he would mostly get them off of tap outs, and sometimes he would push the ball quickly up the floor.

Okobo also showed off fairly good defensive skills.  He is a solid athlete that possesses a good motor, and he can play solid help defense.  On one play, he hustled down the court to make an impressive chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring in transition.  He also managed to deflect an inbounds pass, and he will also contest jumpers to force misses, but he will need to add strength, as that could help him defensively in the future.  When defending a baseline drive once, he got outmuscled as a defender drove hard midway before stopping, and that caused Okobo to slide too far underneath the hoop, as the opponent ended up scoring on a pull-up, mid-range jumper that time.

In general, Elie Okobo is an athletic, skilled point guard that could excel as a two-way player at the next level, and he also showed the knack for making smart, sound plays when he was on the court.  He is having a solid season in the French League, and he would likely end up being a good find for an NBA team whenever he decides to enter the draft.

ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne’s 6-8 forward, Amine Noua played fairly well in his team’s loss to Pau-Orthez.   He is an athletic, high motor player that was able to score in a variety of ways, and he was able to make some impactful plays on both ends of the court.  Noua showed an adequate ability to score on hustle plays.  While rolling to the rim, he managed to catch a blocked shot that his teammate had put up, and Noua promptly scored by throwing down a powerful dunk off of a put back.  Plus, he also caught a lob pass on a roll to the rim to score off the glass.  Also, Noua can score on cuts to the basket, as he managed to throw down a strong jam after finding himself open underneath the hoop, but he struggled to score on fast breaks in traffic, and he also missed a point-blank shot off the glass after getting the ball on a cut, as he may not play under control.

He also did a good job of knocking down spot-up threes off the catch to effectively space the floor for his team.  Also, Noua showed off good low post scoring skills, as he managed to back his man down to score on a drop step move due to possessing good strength and shooting touch on the block.  Also, he would have scored on a running jump hook over a smaller defender another time if the shot clock did not end up expiring on a separate play.

Also, he displayed good playmaking skills.  Noua excelled at passing out of the post to find open shooters to set up scores for his teammates, and he also quickly found the open man after getting an offensive rebound to pick up an assist another time.  He will also set on and off-ball screens, as he will tend to roll off of them.  But sometimes Noua may struggle to protect the basketball, as he had a ball poked away.  Another time when posting up, he quickly spun baseline but he threw a pass into a crowded area that ended up getting intercepted.

He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  Noua would often leap up to haul in boards, as he showed a knack for getting defensive rebounds to help his team in this game.  However, Noua exhibited perhaps fairly average defensive skills.  For the positives, he is an active help defender that can swat shots to protect the paint, as he managed to rotate to block a shot off of a cut, as well as to emphatically block a shot off of a drive out of bounds another time.  Noua will actively contest shots, as he can defend out on the perimeter as well as in the paint to force some misses, and he also managed to quickly hedge out on a screen and get back to his man once.

On the other hand, Noua had a tendency to get beat off the dribble, which would lead his team to allow scores, even after rotating or hedging out to guard opposing ball handlers.  Another time, he ended up committing a foul defending a ball handler out on the baseline as he struggled to keep up with his opponent’s swift dribble moves and footwork.  Also, Noua sometimes will sag too far, as he would at times give up too much space to allow his opponents to score on pull-up jumpers.

In summary, Amine Noua had a fairly good showing, as he can knock down threes, score in the post, and also score off of hustle plays, and he also is a competitive player that could potentially excel as a two-way player at the next level.  However, he may struggle to consistently create his own shot at the next level as he does not possess a great first step to the hoop, and Noua will also need to improve his position defense.  Still, he is a skilled combo forward that possesses above average athletic gifts as well as a diverse skill set, and Noua could end up being a good second round pick for an NBA team for either the upcoming draft or next year.

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