Evaluating Isaac Bonga in a German Pro B Basketball Game

November 30, 2017

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to evaluate 6-9 German point forward, Isaac Bonga, as he is an intriguing prospect whose blend of size, athleticism, and playmaking skills could make him a potential first round pick in 2018.  There hasn’t been a whole lot of game film that I could peruse through online, so I decided to watch a November 1st game where he played for the Fraport Skyliners’ junior team with thanks to YouTube via skyliners1999.   I saw this contest knowing he shot worse than how he usually does on average, but I decided to see it regardless so I could get a better look at his skill set.   

Bonga is a solid playmaker that possesses a gifted ability to pass and handle the basketball.  He handles the ball very well especially for a player his size, as he can quickly dribble up the floor on the break, and he can evade opponents with his ball handling skills.  Plus, he also has very good court vision, as he can make crisp, accurate long passes to his teammates in transition to set up numerous scores for them.  Also, he accelerates to the hoop really well, as he can draw in defenders before promptly finding an open man.  However, he also can be turnover prone though, as he also has a tendency to try to play too fast in an effort to make a play.

He is also a decent scorer off the dribble.  He can garner scores on drives to the basket when he goes all the way to the basket, and he does a good job of driving to his left to do so.  He can use a quick hesitation move, and he has a good first step to the hoop, but Bonga had trouble trying to score on floaters, as he couldn’t find his shooting touch when he would attempt them, and he also had trouble trying to score in traffic.  In this game, he did do a good job of trying to get open, as he would run the floor, and he was open around the basket another time, but his teammates did not get him the ball on those possessions.  He did have opportunities to try to score himself when dribbling the ball up the floor on the break, but he would opt to pass instead, as this would set up good scoring chances for his teammates.

In this game, Bonga struggled with his three-point shot, as he missed both of them despite being open on both of his spot-up attempts.  His first three-point attempt rattled in and out, as this may indicate that he may have some minor mechanics issues.  He may get too much sidespin on his shot, which causes some of his shots to rim out.  He also displayed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  He was able to quickly chase down an offensive board, and he also was able to collect a couple of defensive rebounds, but Bonga will need to add strength, as he can get outmuscled for other boards despite being trying to box out his man.

Plus, Bonga also showcased adequate defensive skills.  He is a good help defender, as he is a long, rangy defender that managed to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also will contest and alter a variety of shots to force misses.  Bonga has good lateral footwork to defend out on the perimeter, and he can quickly switch onto screens when he doesn’t get caught on them.  However, sometimes he will gamble for steals and take bad angles when defending opponents off the dribble, which can lead his team to commit fouls.   Also, another time he overhelped in the paint, and he was late to contest a shot, which led to his team to allow a three-point basket.

In general, Isaac Bonga is an athletic, skilled point forward that may have a vast amount of upside, as he is a smart player that can make reads on the fly.  However, he will also need to improve his jump shot, play more under control, add strength, and show that he can consistently excel against top-notch competition.  With his skill set, he could be an intriguing pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range, and though his game may not be polished yet, he could end up developing into being a good role player in the long term.

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