Evaluating Tom Digbeu
December 18th, 2020
By Alan Lu
I decided to take the time to watch Vytautas Prienu’s 6-4 guard, Tom Digbeu play in an LKL basketball game against Pieno Zvaigzdes that took place on November 21st, with thanks to YouTube via LKL TV. Digbeu is the son of former 1997 NBA draftee, Alain Digbeu, and Tom Digbeu has seen his draft stock rise recently. I wanted to assess his skills, and so I decided to watch him play in Lithuania’s top professional league. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, and how his game may translate to the NBA.
Tom Digbeu is a very athletic combo guard that excelled at attacking the hoop to score the basketball. He also is an active rebounder and defender, but he also struggled to knock down outside shots, and also ran into turnover trouble in this game.
Digbeu generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He has very good foot-speed to get down court, and he was able to catch a long pass to score off the glass on the break. He also drove up court to score on an aggressive, high-flying dunk in traffic late in this contest. Digbeu also ran in to score on a tip-in, and he also managed to score on a cut to the hoop another time.
He also showed a decent ability to score on quick, strong drives to the basket. On one play, Digbeu was able to keep his dribble alive, as he then scored on a running floater. Plus, Digbeu also would go hard to the hoop to draw lots of fouls upon his defenders to often get to the free throw line. Sometimes though, he would shy away from contact, which led him to miss on contested, off-balanced shots when he would not get foul calls.
On the other hand, he was unable to make any of the three-point shots that he took from beyond the arc. Digbeu was unable to make any of threes off the catch or dribble, and he also would take contested three-pointers that would lead to some bad misses.
Also, Digbeu was quite turnover prone in this game. For the positives, he is a speedy playmaker that can handle the basketball, and he can throw some good passes to find teammates on the move. Digbeu can throw good passes off the dribble, and he has the court vision to find teammates on rolls and in transition to set up scores for them. However, sometimes he would be careless when handling the basketball, as he had it poked away at times to nearly turn the ball over. He also was called for a carrying violation, and also stepped out of bounds another time. On a separate possession, he made a questionable decision to drive towards the baseline near a sideline with a defender alongside him, and he then threw an ill-advised jump pass that got picked off instead.
He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. Digbeu was active at crashing the glass, as he would collect boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the court off of defensive rebounds.
Defensively though, he looked to be fairly average. Digbeu has good defensive potential due to his athleticism, length, and instincts. After getting caught on a screen once and after initially attempting to rotate back to his man, he retreated to stay with the big man on a switch mid-pass as his strong athletic gifts and innate ball skills allowed him to leap up to deflect a pass to a teammate to help his team get a steal. He also possesses good footwork, which enabled him to fight through a screen to stay with his man another time, and he also can cover a lot of ground, as he would quickly rotate from the top of the key down to a post player, as he was able to force his opponent to pass the ball another time.
However, he can sometimes tend to be caught ball watching, as he would be late on his rotations, and give up too much space to shooters, which would cause him to allow them to score on three-point shots. Other times, he wouldn’t quite hustle back on defense to try to help his team stop the ball in transition. Another time, he shaded too far to his right, and he got beat off the dribble to his left, which led him to commit a reach-in foul from behind when going for a steal attempt.
Overall, Tom Digbeu is an athletic, skilled combo guard that has a variety of skills that could prove to be useful in the NBA. He excels at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he also has shown promise as a playmaker and defender in games. He will need to work on his jump shot and also be a more focused on-ball defender on the court, but Digbeu is an intriguing prospect that may have considerable upside, and he could be a solid pick for a team in the second round range as a Jordan Clarkson-type of player in the NBA.