Observing Theo Maledon in a Euroleague Game

December 29th, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch ASVEL’s 6-4 point guard, Theo Maledon play against Zenit Saint Petersburg in a Euroleague game that took place on December 6th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via SportBox, and this featured most of this match, and I also saw the highlights from YouTube via Euroleague Basketball to fill in the gaps. Maledon’s draft stock has been tapering off as of late, as he’s gone from being discussed as a surefire lottery pick to being projected in the mid first round range, and I set out to find out why. I decided to assess his skills to see how his game may translate to the NBA.

ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne's point guard, Theo Maledon could potentially be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.   (Photo: Nikola Krstic/Alamy Live News)
ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne’s point guard, Theo Maledon could potentially be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: Nikola Krstic/Alamy Live News)

Theo Maledon is a fairly good shooter that can knock down long-range jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He made a couple of threes in the fourth quarter, as he moved off the ball to make one from way out, and he also dribbled right off of a screen to make an open pull-up three later on. Maledon excelled at making outside shots in this game, and he can knock down threes when he’s given the time and space to do so.

He struggled more to score off the dribble, as he had some trouble in trying to get all the way to the hoop, and he tended to miss on floaters and pull-up, mid-range jumpers. Maledon did have a terrific score late in this contest, as he drove hard to his left to score off the glass while getting an extra free throw afterwards, and he is a fairly good finisher around the basket when he can get all the way to the rim.

Maledon also possesses solid playmaking skills. He is a patient, unselfish table-setter that will get everyone involved on offense, and he would often throw timely passes to set up scores for his teammates. He is quite adept at finding teammates on the move, as he can find cutters and roll men, and he can get them the ball in stride. Sometimes though, he can tend to force balls into traffic, which can lead his passes to get deflected and intercepted.   He also didn’t take a whole lot of chances early on, and he didn’t shoot the ball very much in the first half, as he can be too passive at times on offense.

He also chipped in to help out on the boards, as he was able to get a couple of rebounds off of tap outs. Maledon ran down a defensive board and then pushed the ball up the floor, and he also caught a long offensive rebound that was tipped by his teammate another time. He also tipped another ball on a rebounding attempt midway in this game, but that ball ended up going to an opponent instead.

Also, Maledon played decent defense. He is a fairly active defender that will fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers, and he also managed to get a steal early in this game. He has good length for a point guard, and he has pretty good feet to stay with opponents on the defensive end. There were times though where he would get screened in which his team would allow scores, and Maledon certainly needs to add strength, but his teammates also didn’t do a very good job of communicating to him where the screener was or where to go when their team would defend screens on those plays.

In general, Theo Maledon is a cerebral, table-setting point guard that tends to make sound decisions with the ball in his hands, and he also can play off the ball. He is a fairly good shooter that can knock down jumpers, but he may lack the foot-speed or aggressiveness to be a primary scorer on offense. He might not be as dynamic of a playmaker as some of the other point guards in this draft, so his ceiling might not be as high as some of the other prospects that are rated at the top. Still, Maledon possesses solid basketball IQ, playmaking ability, and defensive skills, which could enable him to go late in the lottery on draft day, and he could end up thriving as a role player in the NBA.

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