Could Wizards’ Bilal Coulibaly follow in the footsteps of Antetokounmpo?

Bilal Coulibaly being drafted by the Washington Wizards with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Bilal Coulibaly being drafted by the Washington Wizards with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Early on draft night, the Washington Wizards shocked the world by trading up for the seventh pick to take Bilal Coulibaly. A move that left many confused but was easily explained away by the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder were attempting to leapfrog the team to take their guy.

The selection, and the trade that allowed them to do so has injected energy into the fanbase. Wizards Twitter is buzzing and it’s not hard to see why. They now have multiple young stars with high potential and a clear path going forward.

The biggest question regarding the team, however, is where Coulibaly will fit in on day one. He is likely already the best defender on the roster, even with Deni Avdija and Delon Wright still on the team, but his offense is still not quite there.

The roster is far from ready for the upcoming NBA season, with many moves yet to come for the Wizards. This makes speculating his role in the early stages of the season difficult to gauge, but he may have given us an answer in a recent interview.

Bilal Coulibaly could follow the same development plan as Giannis Antetokounmpo

In a recent post-draft interview, Bilal Coulibaly was asked what position he could play in the NBA. His response was intriguing. He claimed that he could play either guard positions, both point guard and shooting guard.

Coulibaly has the height and athleticism to be an effective forward in the league but playing him at the guard positions could do wonders for his development. This seems heavily reminiscent of the development method used by the Bucks.

Early in his career, Giannis Antetokounmpo was placed at the point guard position for a while. This allowed him to grow as a playmaker and give him time to put on muscle and bulk before transitioning to play the four.

The Wizards could use the same training method with Coulibaly. He is only 18 years old and heavily rumored to still be growing following a massive growth spurt. If he adds an extra two inches of height to his six-foot-seven frame and puts on some muscle, he will be incredibly dangerous to stop.

This could be a crucial part of his development as one of the biggest weaknesses in his game is his inability to find teammates. Adding that ability to his repertoire as well as giving him opportunities to improve his jumper in game could make him very dangerous in the future, especially if he tacks on some muscle mass.

Still, the Wizards need to clear the logjam at the position before they can even consider sliding the rookie to point guard. However, following the recent trades and the fact that Kyle Kuzma is a free agent, it’s not hard to believe that subsequent trades involving Monte Morris, Delon Wright, and possibly even Tyus Jones are in the works right now.

Bilal Coulibaly would see rapid development in all of the weak spots in his game playing at the point guard position for the Washington Wizards next to Jordan Poole and Corey Kispert. This seems like the right move for the future of the franchise.

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