Evaluating Yoan Makoundou and Karlton Dimanche

May 6th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Recently, Cholet Basket’s 6-9 forward, Yoan Makoundou from France has been receiving some draft buzz, as he has catapulted up ESPN’s draft boards lately.  I decided to take the time to watch him play in a January 20th, Basketball Champions League match against Hapoel Holon, with thanks to YouTube via Basketball Champions League.  Makoundou is a very athletic, high-motor big man that excels at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he also is known for throwing down rim rocking dunks.  It also presented an opportunity to watch Cholet Basket’s 6-4 guard, Karlton Dimanche play, who is also on Makoundou’s team.  Here are my thoughts on how Makoundou and Dimanche fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Cholet Basket’s Yoan Makoundou scored 20 points and had 8 rebounds in his team’s loss to Hapoel Holon.
(Photo:
Sébastien Aubinaud/Ouest-France)

Yoan Makoundou played very well in his team’s loss to Hapoel Holon.  He is a very athletic rim runner that excelled at scoring around the basket, and he also was active as a rebounder and defender in this game. Makoundou did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He showed a knack for score on backdoor cuts in this game, and he can really elevate to score on numerous highlight reel worthy dunks.  He would cut to the hoop from the baseline, which allowed him to score often on powerful, two-handed dunks.  He also caught a lob pass off of a cut to score on a magnetic, alley-oop dunk.  Plus, he also got the ball on a misdirection play off of a cut, as he then drew free throws on that play, although it appeared as if he had gotten his shot blocked that time. Plus, Makoundou also managed to score on a roll to the rim.  He also excelled at running the floor to score on fast breaks.  He ran the floor and caught a lob to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He also ran the floor to get a long pass and then scored on a quick, turnaround layup in transition.

He also showed a solid ability to score in the post.  Makoundou would often find himself open around the basket, as he would then score at the rim.  He was able to throw down a couple of powerful, rim rattling dunks, which included one where he threw down a ferocious dunk on Hapoel Holon’s Willy Workman midway through the third quarter.  Makoundou is a very athletic big man that excelled as a finisher around the basket.  He also caught a high pass in the post, and he used a drop step move, but he ended up missing on a contested, off-balanced turnaround layup.

On the downside, he struggled to knock down threes in this game.  Makoundou missed two, wide-open corner threes against Hapoel Holon.  He overshot it early on, as he didn’t display any shooting touch on his first long-range jumper.  He showed a better shot and shooting stroke on his second three-point attempt, as he also got good arc on his shot, but he missed that time as well, as he shot it a little bit too far to the left.  On the plus side, he did a good job of making his free throws, and he showed a solid shooting stroke to make both of his free throws at the foul line.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Makoundou didn’t get any assists in this game, but he also did not turn the ball over on offense.  He can make simple passes, and he would look to get shooters the ball on occasion.  He didn’t look to handle the ball very much.  On the plus side, he did a good job of setting screens for his teammates on offense.  He would set many screens when he was on the floor, and he would help his teammates get open jump shots and driving lances.  On the other hand, he can struggle to pass or handle the ball, especially when crowded.  He threw a quick entry pass that got deflected out of bounds.  He showed clumsy ball handling when dribbling off of a defensive rebound midway through this match.  On a roll to the rim, he dropped a lob pass to an opponent, as it led to a team turnover.

Also, Makoundou did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would actively crash the glass, and he would often leap up to aggressively get defensive rebounds.  He was able to wrestle a ball away from an opponent to get one, and he also was able get another in traffic.  He also managed to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get an offensive rebound.  Sometimes though, he would be too undisciplined when going for rebounds, which would lead him to commit a couple of over the back fouls as a result.

Plus, Makoundou also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He showed big-time recovery skills as a defender.  He showed the ability to defend out on the perimeter, and he was able to recover quickly, as he flew in to block a three-point shot to a teammate.  He also pounced on a loose ball after an opponent dropped a pass to get a steal.  He also closed out on a mid-range shot to force a miss.  He also would aggressively hedge and switch onto pick and roll ball handlers, and he also would run hard back on defense.  He also showed fairly solid footwork when defending out on the perimeter, and he was able to cut off penetration to force an opposing ball handler to pass the basketball. Sometimes though, he would be caught ball watching, as he would then be late on his rotations.  He got beat on a cut to the hoop to allow a score, and he would give up too much space to allow scores to three-point shooters.  He also struggled to defend a quicker guard on a drive, as he ended up allowing a score to his opponent.

In general, Yoan Makoundou’s draft stock is trending at the right time, and he is a very athletic big man that could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.  In many ways, he could be regarded as like a discount Garuba.  His game is very similar to Real Madrid’s Usman Garuba, both in skill set and in terms of physical tools.  Also for NBA teams, if he decides to enter the draft and if the draft were to be held today, they would likely be able to get Makoundou much lower down in the draft in the mid to late second round range.  Makoundou could prove to be a solid pick for an NBA team at the next level, and he could project to be a solid role player similar to Washington Wizards’ center Daniel Gafford in the NBA.

Cholet Basket’s Karlton Dimanche could be a possible second round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
(Photo:
Cholet Basket/BeBasket)

Cholet Basket’s Karlton Dimanche had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Hapoel Holon.  He is an athletic combo guard that defended well, and he displayed the potential to develop into a solid defensive player in the NBA in the future. Dimanche played good defense in this game.  He is an aggressive defender that can stay in front and lock down his man, and he will pester opposing ball handlers by applying heavy ball pressure.  He would stay in front of opposing ball handlers and cut off penetration to prevent them from being able to drive to the hoop, and he also showed solid length and footwork to contest a shot to force a miss.  He has good feet to guard opponents out on the perimeter. 

Plus, he also jumped on a loose ball that an opposing ball handler lost to get a steal, as he quickly turned it into fast break points for his team.  On the downside, there was one play where he over-pursued an opposing ball handler too far out on the perimeter, which led him to trail his man on a drive, and it led him to be out of position and to allow the score. He also was able to score a layup on a quick, strong drive in transition.  He appeared to get away with a clear out, as he used his forearm to knock down a smaller opponent, although his defender also appeared to have flopped, so the referees did not call a foul on that play.

Also, Dimanche is an unselfish player that will look to move the basketball, and he is a fairly solid ball handler that can bring the ball up.  On the downside, he had a ball taken away from him on a right-handed drive, as an opponent crept in from the blind side to swipe the ball away from him.  Dimanche, though he displayed a decent first step off the dribble, had struggled to protect the basketball that time, and he was unable to avoid the swipe from a nearby defender that had roamed in to do so. On the downside, he didn’t take many shots in this game, and he also did not grab a rebound either in this match.

Overall, Karlton Dimanche is an athletic, high-motor combo guard that can play either backcourt position, but he will need to be more assertive on offense, and he will need to establish the threat of an outside shot to be able to be more consistently effective as a scorer in games. Right now, his defense is ahead of his offense.  While he has some playmaking skills, and he possesses the ability to score off the dribble, Dimanche did not really show that he can knock down outside shots or three-pointers from beyond the arc, and so defenders may not have to respect his jump shot, which can enable them to sag off.  On the plus side, he is an athletic, feisty defender that will hound opposing ball handlers, and he will make it tough for them to dribble, pass, or to get their shots up.

Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate, but he is a raw, unpolished project player that needs to spend the next season either in the G-League or overseas to hone his overall game.  His athleticism and defensive skills may make him an enticing prospect for the NBA, but his lack of a jump shot or consistent playing time in pro ball makes him an unproven commodity that could really struggle on offense at higher levels.  

If Dimanche can add a reliable jumper and three-point shot to his game, that could do wonders for his offensive skills, and he could be a tall, versatile combo guard similar to current Indiana Pacers’ guard, Edmond Sumner.  Otherwise, if Dimanche basically stays as he is and he doesn’t improve his jumper or add a three-point shot, he could still progress to go on the defensive specialist path, similar to former Chicago Bulls’ guard, Randy Brown in the NBA.   On the other hand, if he doesn’t get much playing time next season or in the future, he could end up remaining overseas for the duration of his professional basketball playing career.

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