Evaluating Malcolm Cazalon in the 2019 U18 European Championships

November 21st, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch Stella Artois Leuven Bears’ 6-6 guard, Malcom Cazalon play in a basketball game. There hasn’t been a whole lot of full game footage that I could find of him playing online, so I decided to watch a 2019 U18 European Championships match that took place on August 1st between France and Turkey, as I was able to see this with thanks to FIBA. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Malcolm Cazalon could be a likely second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: FIBA)
Malcolm Cazalon had a solid showing for France in the 2019 U18 European Championships in his team’s loss to Turkey. (Photo: FIBA)

France’s 6-6 guard, Malcolm Cazalon is an athletic, versatile swingman that could project to be a 3 and D type of role player at the next level. He is an aggressive, score-first player that can make a variety of shots, he is a fairly solid facilitator, and he also is a good defender that can shut down his man and make a lot of plays on the ball. Though the level of competition here can be questioned, as his adequate performance here was not in a professional league, Cazalon possesses plenty of skills that may suggest he may have considerable upside as an NBA draft prospect.

Cazalon showed a decent ability to score off of drives to the basket. He is an agile, deft ball handler that can quickly get past his man, and he was able to score on a series of tough runners, and he also can take on the contact to draw extra free throws afterwards. Sometimes though, he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses, and occasionally he would go in a bit out of control, but his solid combination of having the foot speed, ball handling skills, and shooting touch enabled him to excel at making shots off the dribble.

He also possesses an adequate ability to knock down jumpers to space the floor for his team on offense. Cazalon can make three-point shots from well beyond the arc, and he has a lot of range on his shot. He can make them off the catch, dribble, and he also was able to run off of a screen to make an open, spot-up three another time. He’ll take shots of he has the time and space to do so, and he possesses good footwork to get his shots off. Sometimes, he’ll tend to take contested threes from too far out, and he tended to be a streaky shooter due to questionable shot selection. Also, Cazalon struggled to consistently make mid-range jumpers, but he was able to quickly do a side step move to his left, as he pulled up to make a long two while drawing an extra free throw on a separate play.

Also, he displayed decent playmaking skills. Cazalon is an unselfish playmaker that will swing the ball to find the open man, and he also will throw accurate interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He also pushed the pace after jumping a pass to get a steal, and he managed to throw an outstanding, no-look pass back to a trailer to set up a score for a teammate in transition. He possesses very good court vision as he sees the floor well. Plus, he also moves well off the ball on offense, and he also will run off screens to get open on offense. However, sometimes he can dribble around for a bit too long, as he can tend to be a bit of a ball stopper every once in a while. He also can be inaccurate with his passes every once in a while, and his lone turnover came when he threw an inaccurate, loopy crosscourt pass that ended up getting intercepted.

Plus, he also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. He will chase down balls to get defensive rebounds, and he will sometimes look to push the ball up the floor after getting them to help his team.

Cazalon also played good defense. He is an agile, feisty defender that is very active in playing passing lanes, and he will bring heavy ball pressure to make things difficult for his opponents. He will quickly jump passes to get steals, and he also raced down a loose ball stemming from an accurate pass to get a steal midway through this game. Plus, he also sprinted back on defense to make an impressive, chase down block on a drive in transition to himself to get the stop and the ball. He’ll actively pressure ball handlers, as he was able to poke a ball away prior to forcing an eight-second shot clock violation. Adding to that, he rotated to contest a shot in the post another time to force the miss. Sometimes though, he’ll tend to over-help, as he’ll try to go for steals, which can leave him out of position when defending shooters or cutters. He also shaded too far to the right when defending a drive late in the game, as he allowed an opponent to get a step to his left to allow a score off the dribble.

In general, Malcolm Cazalon is a very athletic basketball player who has a variety of skills that allowed him to excel in this particular game against Turkey in the U18 European Championships that day. Right now, his defense may be ahead of his offense, as he may have the physical tools, instincts, and the work ethic to develop into a shutdown defender at the next level. He will have to improve his shot selection and be a more consistent shooter in games, and he will likely have to prove that he can excel at higher levels of international basketball. Still, Cazalon is a talented prospect that could go in the late first to the second round range, and he could project to be a solid role player akin to current Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Avery Bradley in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Le Mans’ 6-4 point guard, Matthieu Gauzin from France has also been getting some draft buzz, so I also took the time to watch him play. He didn’t have as good of a showing as Cazalon did against Turkey, but Gauzin was able to make some solid plays at times.

He is a pass-first playmaker that has above average athletic gifts, and he can defend well when he is dialed in. Gauzin was unable to make any of his three-point shots, but he excelled as a scorer on fast breaks as he has good acceleration to do so. On one solid play, he raced to get a loose ball after an opponent fell to get a steal, and he drove up court to score on a two-handed dunk in transition.

However, he displayed average at best playmaking skills in this game. Gauzin did not record an assist against Turkey, but he would swing balls to open shooters, and he also managed to hit the cutter to set up a scoring chance another time. He can throw accurate passes off the dribble, as he will show good patience to find his teammates in stride. However, he may not always get enough steam on his passes, which can lead them to get deflected. He also committed his lone turnover as he tried to use a spin move off of a drive to the hoop, but he ended up losing the basketball in traffic.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, he will run in to try to get defensive boards, and he was able to chase down a ball to get one in this game. Defensively, Gauzin looked to be about average. He will run in to play passes and jump on loose balls to get steals, and he also has good footwork and agility to quickly go around screens to stay with opposing ball handlers. However, he would tend to be late on his rotations, as he would occasionally be sluggish to get back on defense, and there would be times where he wouldn’t even contest the shot, which would lead him to allow three-point baskets to his opponents. He also can be too aggressive when defending drives, as he can get beat off the dribble by shading his man too far in one direction, and he also committed an aggressive reach-in foul another time.

Overall, Matthieu Gauzin didn’t have his best game, but he is a tall point guard that can provide a steady hand for a team at the point. He will need to improve his jump shot and be a more focused defender, and he will have to show that he can hold his own at the higher levels of international basketball. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the 2020 draft, but if he makes his way to the NBA, he could project into a backup point guard role in the association.

Paris Basketball’s 6-5, 2002-born French guard, Juhann Begarin played very well in his team’s loss to Turkey. He is a very athletic, high-motor swingman that is a very active defender, as he will jump passes to get steals, and he also rotated to block a shot off of a cutter to himself. He also is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he excelled at scoring on drives as well as in transition.   Plus, he also made an open three from well beyond the arc, though he also struggled to make his free throws consistently.

Sometimes though, he would miss awkwardly on half-court drives in traffic, as he can tend to take off-balanced shots, and he can struggle to score in traffic. He would also sometimes over-help in the paint, which would lead him to be late on his rotations, leading his team to allow three-point baskets to the oppositions. Other times, he would have trouble defending opponents off of drives, as he would sometimes get beat off the dribble, and he would also commit reach-in fouls as a result.

Overall, Begarin is a very athletic swingman that did a good job of making hustle plays to help his team on both ends of the floor. He will need to improve his jump shot and shot selection, and also be a more disciplined defender in games. Currently, he is playing in the 2nd French League at LNB Pro B, but if he can continue to hone his game, he could end up being a potential first round pick in the 2021 draft.

Pinar Karsiyaka’s 6-9, 2003-born, Turkish center, Adem Bona may very well be the most athletic player that participated in this game. He scored on a plethora of dunks. His most fascinating play came when he drove left to the hoop, and appeared to score on a thunderous dunk, but he was fouled and was not given continuation, which led him to draw and miss both of his free throws.

Bona is a strong finisher around the basket, and he also will set good screens, and grab many rebounds to help his team on the glass. He’ll need to work on his jump shot and be a more focused defender in games, but he is a very talented prospect that could be a potential first round pick in the 2022 draft.

6-9, 2002-born Turkish swingman, Tibet Deniz Gorener did a great job of making three-point shots to space the floor for his team on offense, as he was able to knock down a couple of wide open threes, as well as one off the dribble in transition. He also ran off the ball prior to scoring on a floater off of a drive, and he also can intercept passes to get steals. Gorener is a smart, crafty player that can shoot and score the basketball, and he could be a prospect that could end up getting drafted by an NBA team in 2021.

CSP Limoges’ 6-4, 2001-born French point guard, Timothe Crusol played fairly well, as he is a patient playmaker that throws good passes off the dribble, and he would calmly knock down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He has struggled to shoot the ball well in professional leagues this season, but if he can continue to develop and grow as an overall player, he could potentially end up being a backup point guard in the NBA.

6-10, 2002-born French center, Moussa Diabate is an athletic big man that can score the basketball in a variety of ways. He is a solid finisher around the basket, and he also has good foot speed and ball handling skills to score off the dribble. He was able to use a quick ball fake to score on aggressive baseline drive to the basket, and he also rebounds the ball well. He’ll need to show that he can play well at the higher levels of international basketball, but he is an intriguing prospect that could be a player to watch for the 2021 draft.