Evaluating Ibou Dianko Badji and Jean Montero in an LEB Silver Game

July 16th, 2021

By Alan Lu

7-1 Senegalese center, Ibou Dianko Badji is an early entrant that is in the 2021 NBA Draft, so I wanted to watch him play in a full basketball game.  I was able to watch him play in a May 16th basketball game that took place between FC Barcelona B against Gran Canaria B, with thanks to YouTube via Legend Highlights TV.  This also presented an opportunity to watch Jean Montero play, who is projected by some to be a first round prospect in the 2022 draft.  Here are my thoughts on how Badji and Montero fared on this day, as well as how they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

FC Barcelona B’s 7-1 center, Ibou Dianko Badji from Senegal is a shot-blocking big man that currently is a second round prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft.
(Photo:
Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ibou Dianko Badji is a strong, athletic center that can make solid plays in the interior on both ends of the floor. He excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to score on a thunderous dunk off of a backdoor cut.  He also ran in to score on a tip slam after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound.  Plus, Badji also excelled at scoring on strong rolls to the rim, as he can throw down powerful dunks and also can score on smooth layups around the basket.  Badji also will go up strong to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.

On the downside, he struggled to consistently score in the post.  He tended to miss on contested shots in traffic, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls.  Badji had trouble finding his shooting touch when trying to score on post-ups.  He also didn’t look to take jumpers from outside of the paint, and he’ll need to establish a reliable jump shot at higher levels.

He also displayed fairly average at best playmaking skills in this game.  For the positives, Badji can pass out of the post.  He was able to throw a no-look pass out of the post to find an open shooter in the corner.  He also spotted a cutter when posting up, and while he didn’t exactly throw an accurate pass, he was able to get the ball to his teammate.  Also, Badji will set screens on offense.  On the downside, he can struggle to protect the basketball.  On one roll to the rim, it seemed as if he lost the ball, but he drew a foul instead.  On another play though, he tried to post up, but he was called for traveling due to having shuffled his feet that time.

Also, Badji showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball.  He would often leap up to grab rebounds, as he was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He also managed to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get an offensive board once.

Badji also played fairly solid defense in this game.  He showed a knack for blocking shots hard in the paint due to possessing good length, athleticism, and timing.  He also jumped on a loose ball that his teammate poked away to help his team get a steal.  He also would actively contest shots in the paint to force misses.  On the other hand, there was one play where after having made a solid rotation, he fouled an opponent off of a drive, as he ended up getting his opponent on the body.  Another time, he didn’t quite switch all the way or effectively communicate to his team on how to defend the screen, which led his teammate to commit a foul that time.  Other times, he can be late on his rotations, but his opponents tended not to capitalize in those instances.

Overall, Ibou Dianko Badji is an intriguing prospect that projects to be a rim protector in the NBA.  Right now, his defense is ahead of his offense.  He is a solid rebounder and shot blocker that does a good job of helping his team protect the paint.  He also may have a decent amount of upside, because he’s a 7-1 center that has shown promising defensive skills, and he’ll also be one of the youngest prospects in the draft, so there’s likely plenty of room for him to grow his game.  However, he doesn’t seem to have much of an offensive game, as he’s basically a rim runner at this stage, he doesn’t seem to have advanced post moves or much of a face-up game right now.  Currently, Badji is a borderline second round candidate, and in a favorable scenario, he could end up being a serviceable backup center similar to former San Antonio Spurs’ center, Francisco Elson in the NBA.

Jean Montero played in the LEB Silver during the 2020-21 season, and he is a first round prospect in the 2022 draft. He recently made the decision to join the Overtime Elite League for the 2021-22 season.
(Photo:
Overtime, via The Rookie Wire – USA Today)

6-2 point guard, Jean Montero from the Dominican Republic showed some intriguing skills for Gran Canaria B in their loss to FC Barcelona B.  He had his ups and downs as he didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside and he also struggled quite a bit defensively, but he is a speedy playmaker that can attack the rim to score the basketball.  He also managed to score on a quick cut to the hoop late in this match.

Montero also showed a good ability to score off the dribble.  He is a fleet-footed guard that has a strong first step to the hoop.  He can also finish plays using either hand, as well as in traffic.  He can maneuver around defenders to score in the paint.  He also can use subtle dribble moves to score on tough layups.  He also showed that he can score on quick floaters.  On the other hand, he was inconsistent at knocking down pull-up jumpers from the mid-range.  He also was unable to knock down any of his threes that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  He showed a knack for making quick passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates, and he can make solid reads when he plays patiently.  He showed a knack for making swift drive and kick passes, and he also can throw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move.  He also handles the ball very well.  On the downside, there was one play where he over-dribbled in traffic as he drove up court in transition, but he collided into an opponent and lost the ball to commit a turnover.

He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  Montero would chase down balls to get defensive boards, and there was one play where he pushed the ball quickly up the floor.  Defensively, he played fairly average defense at best.  For the positives, he would swipe balls away from opposing ball handlers and get his hands to get steals and deflections.  He also is an active defender that would apply considerable ball pressure when guarding his man.  On the downside, he would often take bad angles and struggle to fight through screens, which would cause him to be late on his rotations and sometimes would put his team in compromised situations.  Other times, he’d get caught ball watching, as he ended up getting beat on a misdirection play to a cutter, and he also would allow shooters to score on him.  He also would sometimes be too aggressive in going for steals, which would lead him to commit reach-in fouls.

Overall, Jean Montero is a speedy playmaker that can score and pass the basketball, but he will need to be a more consistent shooter, and he will need to improve his on-ball defense.  Right now, he may project to go in the mid to late first round range in the 2022 draft, and he could end up being a similar player to Phoenix Suns’ guard, Cameron Payne in the NBA.

FC Barcelona B’s 6-7 forward, Sergi Martinez had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Gran Canaria B.  He struggled to consistently knock down shots or score the basketball, but he was able to show better than expected athleticism, and he also passed and defended well in this game.

Martinez excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He ran the floor to score on a thunderous dunk to show off fairly solid strength as well as some impressive hops.  He also managed to score on a backdoor cut to the basket.

He also did a decent job of knocking down threes in this game.  He was able to make an open three off of a pick and pop play to show off his shooting skills.  He also used a drop step to score on a turnaround jump hook in the post.  On the downside, Martinez really struggled to score off the dribble or in the post, as he would tend to miss on tough, contested shots.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He can pass off the dribble as well as throw interior passes to find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On the downside, he also can be careless on offense, which can lead him to commit turnovers.  On one play, he bobbled a pass as he lost the ball to an opponent.  He also threw an entry pass that ended up getting intercepted.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Martinez would chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds for his team.

He also played solid defense in this game.  Martinez was able to jump on a loose ball that his teammate deflected away to help his team get a steal.  He also was quite active in contesting jump shots to force misses due to good positioning and defensive awareness.  Sometimes he would be late on his rotations and struggle to stay in front of his man, which would lead him to commit fouls when guarding opponents off the dribble.

Overall, Sergi Martinez is an athletic, high-motor forward that would make hustle plays to help his team on both ends of the floor.  He will need to improve his outside shot and his ability to create his own shot off the dribble, but his ability to defend and score on off-ball motion plays could enable him to carve out a long career in professional basketball.  If he does make it to the NBA one day, he could end up being an energetic role player off the bench, as he could be like a lesser athletic version of Alonzo Gee in the association.

FC Barcelona B’s 6-3 Senegalese point guard, Brancou Badio played well in his team’s win over Gran Canaria B.  He is a quick guard that showed off versatile playmaking skills, and he also rebounded and defended well in this game.

Badio showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He used a pump fake to make a smooth, pull-up jumper from around the right elbow.  He also ran off of a ball screen quickly to make a long two another time.  Plus, he also was able to make a pair of open, spot-up threes off the catch.  He was a bit streaky with his three-point shot, but he generally excelled at making mid-range jumpers off the dribble.  Plus, he also would go hard to the hoop to frequently get to the free throw line.  He also managed to score on a running hook shot in the post.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Though he looks to score quite often, Badio can throw solid passes off the dribble, and he can find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for them.  However, he would sometimes get balls poked away from him as he can struggle to handle the ball when pressured.  He also threw a weak entry pass that got intercepted another time.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and sometimes he would push the ball quickly up the floor afterwards.  Badio also played solid defense in this game.  He was able to poke balls away to get steals and deflections, and he also managed to get his hands on a pass to get another steal.  He also jumped on a loose ball that his teammate poked away to help his team force another turnover.  He also would frequently contest jumpers to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would get beat off the dribble, which would put himself and his team in scramble situations. 

Overall, Badio is an athletic combo guard that can score the basketball, and he also is an active rebounder and defender.  He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter in games, and he will need to show teams that he can ably run the point at higher levels.  He is a talented prospect that could carve out a lengthy playing career in professional basketball.  He may not have much draft buzz right now, if any, but if he does make it to the NBA one day, he could end up projecting into a microwave type of scorer off the bench at that level.

FC Barcelona B’s 6-10 center, James Nnaji played fairly well in limited minutes in his team’s win over Gran Canaria B.  He excelled as an interior player on both ends of the floor.  He would frequently score in the post, and he also managed to get deep position, as he used a pump fake to score on a powerful dunk once.  He also managed to score on a powerful jam off of a roll to the rim another time.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills in this game.  He was able to quickly pass out of the post to find an open shooter to notch an assist.  He also set an on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open driving lane.  On the downside, there was one play where he set a moving screen to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.

He also was able to leap up to get a couple of defensive rebounds in this game.  Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive in pursuit of boards, which would occasionally lead him to commit over the back fouls.  He also played solid defense, as he was able to block a shot off of a drive, and he would contest shots in the paint to force misses.

Overall, Nnaji is a strong, athletic big man that showed that he can score, rebound, and defend in the paint.  He will likely need to extend his shooting range and establish a reliable outside shot, as well as show that he can capably defend out on the perimeter, especially if he ends up having to switch on screens.  He may be a prospect to keep tabs on, as he could project into an effective rotational big man in the NBA someday.

Gran Canaria B’s 6-7 forward, Ruben Lopez had his ups and downs, but he was able to make some solid plays to help his team on both ends of the court. He generally struggled to score in one-on-one situations, and he struggled to make shots consistently. On arguably his best offensive play of the night, he ran the floor to score on an impressive, athletic tip slam after leaping up to get an offensive rebound.  He also was able to throw a sharp pass to a cutter late in this match to show his passing skills.  However, he struggled to handle the ball when pressured, and he also threw a loopy pass that got intercepted another time.

He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Lopez was able to hustle back to block a shot in transition to a teammate.  He also would contest shots in the paint to force misses.  On the other hand, there was one play where he should’ve told his teammate to switch on a screen as they didn’t effectively communicate nor defend the screen well, which led his team to allow a three-point basket.

Overall, Ruben Lopez is an athletic forward that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to significantly improve his offensive skills, but his athleticism and motor could enable him to carve out a solid playing career in professional basketball.

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