Evaluating Paul Eboua and Henri Drell

April 25th, 2020

By Alan Lu

Recently, Consultinvest VL Pesaro’s 6-9 forward Henri Drell declared to enter the 2020 NBA Draft, even though he’s received sparse playing time and had not played very well in the Italian League.  I therefore took the time to watch him and Paul Eboua play, as Eboua is a slightly, higher-regarded prospect who has not stated if he plans to enter the draft or not.   Both players are projected as second round candidates, and I decided to watch them play against Banco di Sardegna Sassari in a game that took place on January 19th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via DinamoTV. Here are my thoughts on how Eboua and Drell fared, as well as how their games may stack up in the NBA.

Pesaro’s 6-8 forward, Paul Eboua projects to be a second round candidate for the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo: pu24.it, via Davide Perugini’s article on pu24.it)

Paul Eboua is an athletic, energetic combo forward that was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor.  He did a good job of scoring on hustle plays.  Eboua ran the floor to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk, and he also was able to leap up to score on a powerful tip slam after getting an offensive rebound another time.   He also managed to score on an awkward turnaround layup off of a roll early in this game.  However, there was one play where he had his shot blocked after trying to score on a roll later on. 

He also showed the ability to score off the dribble as well as in the post.  Eboua was able to use a quick hesitation move, as he drove left to score on a thunderous, rim-rocking dunk while getting an extra free throw.  He also managed to score on a turnaround jumper in the post.  He did miss on a contested, fadeaway jumper after posting up late in this game, as he was unable to get deep position that time and settled for a questionable shot.  He showed that he can get scores off the dribble when he would take the ball to the rim, but he did not look to do so nearly enough.

However, he had trouble consistently making jumpers from outside of the paint area.  Eboua was able to make a pull-up jumper from the mid-range midway through, but he also missed another one badly early on, and he also missed all of his three-point shots from beyond the arc.

Eboua also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also was able to find a cutter after getting an offensive board to notch an assist.  He will also set plenty of screens to help his teammates get open jump shots.  He also managed to dive for a loose ball to get a deflected pass to a teammate to help his team retain possession on offense due to possessing a good motor.  He did drop a low pass early on, but technically he did not turn the ball over on offense when he was on the floor.

He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would frequently run in and leap up to get boards quickly on both ends of the floor, and he also managed to box out an opponent to get an offensive rebound once.  He also was able to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board on another possession.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Eboua is an active help defender that can cover plenty of ground on this side of the ball.  He would rotate to help defend in the paint, and he almost was able to block a couple of shots, except that he was called for a goaltend after appearing to swat one from a post player, and his teammate was also called for a foul on a separate play.   He also will deflect passes and poke balls away to make it difficult for opponents to post up on the block.  He also would hustle back on defense, and he showed good feet to fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss.  Plus, he also drew a charge when defending off the ball due to good positioning that time. 

Sometimes though, he will space out and be caught ball watching, which would lead his opponents to score on three-point shots.  He also had trouble defending in the post, as he would commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would forget to maintain defensive balance, as he would be too eager to crash the offensive glass, but his opponent would leak out to get a quick score on the break.

In general, Eboua is an athletic player that could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA, but he will need to improve his jump shot and focus on the defensive end.  Right now, he may project to go in the mid to late second round if he decides to declare to enter the draft.  He may still need to spend a season overseas or in the G-League to polish up his game, but if he can be a more skilled, assertive offensive player and make strides to develop into becoming a shut-down defender, he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

6-9 forward, Henri Drell declared to enter the 2020 NBA Draft, but he did not have a very good season this year with Pesaro.
(Photo: Carpegna Prosciutto Basket Pesaro, via basketmarche.it)

Henri Drell did not receive a whole lot of playing time, but curiously, he played a lot in the third quarter after basically sitting out the first half, and he played a couple of minutes late in the fourth in mop-up duty after his team was doomed to a fate of receiving a lopsided loss to Sassari.  Still, this was a rather curious, baffling choice by his coach to suddenly play someone who had not seemingly gotten into the game in the first half by logging him heavy minutes in the third quarter, especially as the game was slipping away from his team.  But, good for Drell for having gotten into the game so that I could evaluate him to see where he may be at as a player right now.  He needs those minutes somewhere, although his team ended up losing by 25 in this game.

Drell can score on off-ball motion plays, and he made his presence felt early in the third quarter by scoring on a quick baseline cut, as he threw down a powerful, two-handed jam to show his athleticism.  However, he struggled to make shots after that.  He was unable to score off the catch or dribble after that.  He ended up missing on drives to the basket, as he had trouble scoring in traffic, and he tended to go up too weakly when trying to do so.  He also missed on a couple of three-point attempts, as he was unable to establish a consistent presence on offense.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Drell was able to kick the ball out to a shooter off the dribble to set up a score, and he is an agile player that can find teammates on the move.  He generally passed and handled the ball well when he was in the game, and he did not turn the ball over once on offense.

He did not grab many rebounds in this game, and the box score did not credit him with grabbing a board when he was on the floor.  Despite having good size and solid athleticism, he generally did not seem to have great instincts to go for rebounds.

He also played adequate defense.  Drell was able to rotate to block a shot off of a drive due to possessing good timing, and he also will play passing lanes to try to get steals.  He also was able to contest threes to force misses, and he would hustle back on defense.  On the downside, he had some trouble defending opponents off the dribble.  He got beat on a drive to his left once, which led him to commit a foul.  Another time, he went the wrong way when defending a pick and roll ball handler dribbling off of a screen, which led to a pass that set up an inside score.  He also over-helped in the paint another time, as he ended up allowing his man to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Henri Drell is a project player that didn’t have a great season with Pesaro this year, and it’s surprising that he decided to declare to enter the draft, especially since he’s put forth such dreadfully tepid shooting percentages and rather pedestrian numbers this season.  He most certainly will go undrafted if he stays in the draft.  A person could make the case that he received entirely too much playing time at the level he was at, according to RealGM, he posted a single-digit PER that was a shade below 6, and he did not make 40% from the field, 30% of his threes, nor 70% of his free throws this season at Pesaro, and his team won just 1 game out of 21 this year.   For the sake of Drell’s development, he needs to play more than 20 minutes a game somewhere, but maybe he shouldn’t have received so many minutes with Consultinvest VL Pesaro, as he may have been overwhelmed by the level of competition he faced combined with receiving reduced playing time at a higher level.

If an NBA team decides to defy logic and select him though, his path could then be as a late second round, draft and stash pick, where he will need to hone his game either in the G-League or overseas for at least a year.  In any case, Drell needs to find a place to play where he can get ample playing time, but he will need to improve his jump shot and ability to create his own shot, as that could help his chances to have a sustainable career in high-level professional basketball leagues.

Other Notes:

Another player that caught my eye was Pesaro’s 2000-born guard, Federico Miaschi, as he played very well, and it seemed like he had the game of his life as he put forth a strong showing in his team’s loss to Sassari.  Though he did not have a good season overall, he played terrific basketball in this specific game.

Miaschi did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He would score on quick backdoor cuts from the baseline, and he also excelled at scoring on put backs.  He also did a good job of scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he also made a long two off the dribble late in this game.  He was unable to make a three-point shot, but he would score by making smart moves to score on off-ball motion plays, and he showed off a good mid-range shot in this game. He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man.  Miaschi would also run in to crash the offensive glass to help his team get rebounds.

He also played decent defense.  Miaschi was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also managed to poke a ball away to get another.  He also ran hard back on defense to successfully challenge a dunk attempt in transition to get a stop, and he was active in contesting shots off the dribble to force misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes leave his man too early, which would lead his team to allow scores around the basket.  He also had trouble defending a screen before getting back to his man, but he then got beat off the dribble, which led him to commit a foul that time.

Overall, Miaschi is an athletic, energetic combo guard that was able to score a barrage of points in this game, and he showed that he may have the potential to develop into a microwave type of scorer in the NBA.  On the downside, he really struggled in most of the other games, and he managed to post even worse shooting percentages than his teammate, Henri Drell.  He’ll need to play more like he did in this game next year, and Miaschi will need to improve his three-point shot and playmaking skills.  If he can play every game like he did here next season, he could perhaps end up being a potential second round pick sometime down the road.  For the time being, he’ll need to shoot much better than he did this season, but this game may suggest that he could be a prospect worth keeping tabs on in the future.

As for the game footage itself, the film was a bit grainy, and the picture was not ideal, but I set out to watch the players perform in this game.   Anyways, that is all for now, and hope you enjoyed reading this.

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