Evaluating Tidjane Salaun in a French League Basketball Game

April 23rd, 2024

By Alan Lu

Recently, I took the time to watch Cholet Basket’s 6-9 forward, Tidjane Salaun play in a March 23rd French League game against Saint-Quentin, with thanks to YouTube via NBA.  It was initially to watch him and another draft prospect, Melvin Ajinca play, but Ajinca did not play in this game.  Still, Salaun is a very athletic forward that could potentially get selected in the lottery, so I decided to watch this game anyways.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in this game, as well as how he may stack up as a prospect for the NBA.

Cholet Basket’s 6-9 forward, Tidjane Salaun scored 18 points to help lead his team to a decisive win over Saint-Quentin in the March 23rd basketball game. (Photo: Augas Melvyn/Ouest-France)

Tidjane Salaun had a strong showing in his team’s win over Saint-Quentin.  He is a tremendously athletic forward that showed off versatile scoring skills, and he especially thrived at making hustle plays to help his team on both ends of the floor. He did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  Salaun showed a knack for using his great length, athleticism, and wingspan to pick off passes and to drive it up court to score on high-flying dunks the other way.  Plus, Salaun also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk off of a backdoor cut.  He also was able to catch a lob pass on the break at full speed, as he appeared to score on a soaring, high-flying alley-oop dunk another time, only for the officials to wave it off and to send him to the free throw line instead, even though it seemed as if no one touched him on the play.  

Salaun also did an adequate job of knocking down spot-up threes on offense.  He was able to make a quick, open three off the catch early on.  He also set an off-ball screen and faded back to get the ball, and he was able to make a bank three-pointer from well beyond the arc another time.  On the downside, he was fairly streaky with his three-point shot, and he had some awkward misses at times. He also was able to draw free throws on a switch of hands layup when taking it to the rim on a half court drive.  Salaun also tended to prefer going to his left when driving to the basket.  On the downside, he missed on a running floater on a separate possession.

Also, Salaun was quite turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, Salaun is an unselfish player that would make quick drive and kick passes to find open shooters, and he was able to net himself a pair of assists. However, he tended to play too fast and out of control at times, and he would commit turnovers due to rushing.  He collided into an opponent off the ball, and he was called for setting a moving screen that time.  He also tended to over-dribble when driving to the basket, which would lead him to lose the ball and commit ball-handling turnovers.  He also had a tendency to drop passes when he would look to catch balls on the move, as he didn’t always firmly catch the basketballs.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Salaun was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive boards, and he was able to push the pace off of one of them.  He also boxed out on a separate defensive rebounding attempt.  Plus, he also was able to tip balls to help his teammates get a couple of defensive boards.  However, sometimes he would allow opponents to grab offensive rebounds in his area.

Also, Salaun defended very well in this game.  He would quickly intercept passes using his great length, athleticism, and instincts to get steals, and he would then immediately turn them into fast break dunks to help his team.  He also would contest shots to help force misses, and he also managed to successfully draw a charge late in the game due to good positioning.  On one play though, he over-helped on a drive as he was late to rotate back and contest a corner three, which led his team to give up the basket that time.

Overall, Tidjane Salaun played well in his team’s win over Saint-Quentin.  He is a really athletic forward, and he is a rangy defender that can cover a lot of ground.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and tighten up his handles, but he is a high upside prospect that could be a lottery pick in the 2024 draft, and he could end up being a solid role player similar to Sacramento Kings’ forward, Harrison Barnes in the NBA.

Cholet Basket’s 6-2 point guard, Nathan De Sousa also played well in his team’s win over Saint-Quentin.  He is an athletic, energetic playmaker that turned in a strong all-around performance, and based on the way he played in this game, he may be an underrated prospect that could be a player to watch in the future.

De Sousa excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game.  He did a good job of making spot-up threes off the catch, and he was able to make one from way out.  He also showed a knack for drawing free throws on aggressive drives to the basket, and he also managed to score on a speedy drive in transition once.  He would sometimes take tough shots that would lead to misses, but he generally did a good job of making shots in this game.

While he primarily looked to score the basketball, De Sousa would sometimes make the extra pass, and he as able to throw an accurate lob pass to get the ball to a teammate on the break.  Plus, De Sousa did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would sometimes push the pace afterwards off of defensive boards.  De Sousa also defended well.  He was able to intercept an errant pass thrown right to him to get a steal.  He also tend to stay in front of his man and contest shots to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls as a result.

Overall, De Sousa played very well in this game, and he had a sterling showing in Cholet Basket’s victory over Saint-Quentin.  He didn’t quite shoot as well on the season and he didn’t look to score nearly as much as he did in this game.  De Sousa will need to shoot the ball better next season, but he is an agile, skilled point guard that has a quick first step off the dribble, and he’s shown that he can already play in the French League.  If he can continue to improve his jump shot and make strides moving forward, he could end up being a reliable, game managing backup point guard in the NBA in the future.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Tidjane Salaun and Nathan De Sousa fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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