Baby Giannis Antetokounmpo
It may not be fair to any prospect to be compared to one of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest development stories of all time. That is why this is the ultimate best-case scenario. We can call it the top 1 percentile outcome.
If everything goes above and beyond our expectations, Bilal Coulibaly could become a mini-Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Coulibaly obviously lacks the height, size, and strength of the Greek Freak. However, he is only 18 years old and still growing. Just take a look at the rookie year photos of Giannis to see what hard work and NBA trainers can do to improve one’s body over the years.
The similarities in the playing style of the two players are striking. They both play very hard, and love running the floor and pushing the pace. They both have a nice arsenal of euro-steps and finishes around the rim.
Antetokounmpo initially made a name for himself as an elite defender in the league. He could switch out in the perimeter and defend smaller players while being able to protect the rim as well. The first few seasons were a struggle on the offensive end.
Coulibaly could potentially follow a similar trajectory. He may not be the otherworldly defender and rim protector Giannis is, but he can certainly be an elite multi-positional defensive player.
Antetokounmpo failed to improve his shot over the years, he arguably got worse on that front. Yet, that doesn’t stop him from being one of the most dominant offensive players in the league.
Coulibaly will likely never be the unstoppable driving force that Giannis is offensively, but he has the ability to make up for that with better outside shooting.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bilal Coulibaly had similar trajectories on their way to the NBA, bursting onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere as raw international prospects. Let’s hope that for the Wizards’ sake, their NBA trajectories are similar too.