Updated: May 25
Beyond the NBA Draft, there is no shortage of talent within the Jeep Elite (France 1st Division). From former draftees, to pros aspiring to grace the league (NBA) one day, France boast arguably the most talented foreign-born players outside of North America. With French elite prospects always on the NBA radar, here are pros that could potentially see an NBA roster spot by way of training camp, G League (2-way contract) or midseason acquisition.
Yannis Morin (1993) 6’10 PF/C (Chalons-Reims 19-20 to SIG Strasbourg 20-21)
Jeep Elite: 25 GMS/ 25.2MPG
13.4ppg/ 7.3rpg/ 1.3apg / 1.2bpg/ 55.5%FG/ 74.2% FT
Tall, mobile, athletic big, Yannis has developed quite nicely the past two seasons in France. Before deciding to return to France he participated in a summer league (OKC Thunder) and suited up in the G league (OKC Blue). But never getting the call to be featured on an NBA roster Yannis return to a familiar place to continue his professional development, The Jeep Elite. He is known for his powerful finishes when attacking the basket on offense and his rim protecting prowess on defense. He opens fast rolling hard to the basket off PnR setting up the shot or pass option for the ball handler. He also anchors the defensive end and is a dream teammate playing help defense contesting and altering shots. The one area Yannis is still developing is his outside shooting. Showing flashes of a potential outside 15-foot jump shot from time to time, he could boost his NBA interest by developing a consistent jumper and adding the 3-point threat to his arsenal. Overall, there is no denying his skill and NBA potential as a modern day 4/5. Yannis will be one to watch as he begins to solidify himself as one of the league’s best in France.
Isaïa Cordinier (1996) 6’5 SG (JSF Nanterre 19-20 to TBD 20-21)
Jeep Elite: 24 GMS/ 30.4 MPG
14.4ppg/ 4.7rpg/ 2.5apg/ 1.4apg/ 2.1 to/ 64.7% 2P/ 32.4% 3P/ 89.9% FT
7days EuroCup: 8 GMS/ 27.9MPG
13.4ppg/ 3.8rpg/ 2.9apg/ 1.4spg/ 2.1to/ 43.1% 2P/ 29.4% 3P/ 79.4%FT
A high-flying eye-opening finisher, Isaïa is oozing with talent and possibility. He was drafted in 2016 by Atlanta Hawks in the 2nd round at 44 as a development project. Isaïa featured in a few summer leagues with Atlanta but started off slow in his debuts. After struggling to find his footing earlier in his young career and battling back from tendinitis surgery on his knee, now at 23 years of age (24 in November) Isaïa is beginning to blossom into the player in which had scouts excited about in 2016. His combined quickness and vertical leaping ability make him a prototypical NBA guard. Still needing to improve his outside shooting from 3 to be consider a 3 and D candidate, Isaïa possess strengths in attacking above the rim in traffic off the bounce and in transition. He is an underrated defender who picks up shot blocks defending on ball and chasing down attackers in transition. His quick and active hands allow him to intercept over the top passes and shoot thru passing lanes. With Brooklyn Nets now owning the NBA rights to Isaïa, it would not be surprising to see him reunite with his under 21 teammate Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot in the near future.
Alpha Kaba (1996) 6’10 C (Boulazac Basket Dordogne 19-20 to JSF Nanterre 20-21)
Jeep Elite : 25 GMS/ 22.1 MPG
8.8ppg/ 8.6rpg/ 1.2bpg/ 57.3% FG/ 58% FT
Still learning the game and developing his offensive abilities, at 23 years of age (24 in September) Alpha has already established himself as an elite rebounder on both end of the floor (ranked 2nd in the league 19-20 season). His long arms, mobility, muscular frame, and athleticism as a big helps the imagination run wild with “what ifs”. Referred as the “Mr Irrelevant” of the 2017 draft, selected by Atlanta Hawks with the last pick (60), Alpha has always shown why his defensive and low post presence could matter to team. His inconsistency is something he needs to improve, and off court maturity has also been a question mark early on in his career. On the court he has made strides almost posting a double in a very physical Jeep Elite this season. A player who relishes contact, his under the basket activity continues to make him a hot commodity. Developing a solid low post arsenal could potentially put him back in the NBA conversation. Can Alpha improve his production in the 20-21 season?
Amine Noua: (1997) 6’8 PF (LDLC Asvel 19-20 to TBD 20-21)
Jeep Elite : 22 GMS/ 19.5 MPG
9.7ppg/ 3.3rpg/ 60% 2P/ 40% 3P/ 75% FT
Turkish Airlines EuroLeague: 25 GMS/ 13.5 MPG
5.0ppg/ 2.0rpg/62.5% 2P/ 32.6%/ 62.5% FT
Amine is a house hold name in ASVEL, coming up through the academy since playing under 16. An undersized PF with slashing and shooting ability he is a player that understands his role within the team concept. He has developed into a catch and shoot 3-point threat but tends to stand and wait behind the arc at times. Amine needs to expand his offensive arsenal because he could be limited if teams take away the 3 and his ability to cut to the basket. Undersize to be a true low post threat, Amine needs to begin to put the ball on the floor developing his shooting and attacking off the dribble. Defensively he could up his value by becoming a better rebounder but has shown his ability to guard multiple positions (inside and outside). After going undrafted in 2018, he was featured with the Atlanta Hawks in the 2019 edition of the Las Vegas summer league but did not create any head way to truly be on the NBA radar. But overall Amine has consistently developed year after year and already has high level experience playing in the EuroLeague in the 19-20 season. If he remains with the ASVEL it will be interesting to see his next steps in development.
Damien Inglis (1995) 6’9 PF (SIG Strasbourg to TBD 20-21)
Jeep Elite: 23 GMS/ 26.1 MPG
11ppg/ 5.4rpg/ 3.0apg/ 2.0to/ 52.7% 2P/ 34.4% 3P/ 77.6% FT
FIBA Champions League : 14 GMS/ 25.1 MPG
8.5ppg/ 4.0rpg/ 3.6apg/ 1.6to/ 47.6% 2P/ 33.3% 3P/ 81% FT
Damien is an offensively skilled undersized big that has the ability to put the ball on the floor with a soft touch to a variety of finishes. He has good shooting mechanics complementing his mid-range and improving 3-point shot. A very underrated mid to low post offensive game, Damien is equipped with vision to distribute the ball out of the double team. He displays confidence handling the ball against opposing defenders. Drafted in 2014 by Milwaukee Bucks in the 2nd round at 31, Damien had rough 3 years in his first NBA stint. He battled back from right ankle surgery his first season but was traded after his second season to the New York Knicks eventually remaining with the G league team (Westchester Knicks). Overall playing less than 30 officially NBA games. He returned to Europe midway in his 3rd year to advance in his professional development. The 19-20 season in France was a confidence boosting year for Damien. His game exhibited poise and maturity. Patience while playing around the rim or going up to finish shows his intelligence and ability to read the game on the offensive end. Lack of explosiveness does hurt his rebounding potential. But Damien shows versatility with his ability to defend low post and out on the perimeter. Definitely will be interesting to see if he can establish himself as a teams main contributor in the upcoming season.
David Michineau (1994) 6’3 PG (Boulogne Levallois 19-20, 20-21)
Jeep Elite : 21 GMS/ 23.9 MPG
11ppg/ 2rpg/ 2.9apg/ 1.1spg/ 2to/ 54.4% 2P/ 23.8 3P/ 71.7% FT
A Speedy athletic guard with a quick first step, David is a player that is especially dangerous in the open court or on the move to the basket. He flew under the radar earlier in his development but was able to show enough of his potential being drafted in 2016 by the New Orleans Pelicans but dealt to L.A. Clippers. He was featured in 3 summer leagues but has not spent a full season in the NBA or G league. Choosing the European development track David is still improving offensively but has good qualities defensively. He is an effective on ball defender with active hands also making him a great help defender when playing the passing lanes. Not a pure passer, David can thread the needle at times providing teammates pinpoint assist. He is very good at changing direction in the open court but needs to put on size so he is not easily bumped off his path when driving to the basket in the half-court set. His handle is decent but can add more variations to create separation. Shooting mechanics are decent so becoming a more consistent 3-point shooter will make him highly effective out of the PnR set. Starting the 19-20 season sideline with injury, David was able to work his way back and be a valuable contributor for a club that played at the top of standings the entire season. In 20-21 He will have the chance to put together a full season in European competition and league play.
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