Bilal Coulibaly delivered exactly what was expected of him in Summer League

Bilal Coulibaly of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Bilal Coulibaly of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Summer League may be over but the Washington Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly’s performance still has his coaches buzzing. In an interview with NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards Summer League and Capital City Go-Go head coach Landon Tatum ran out of superlatives to describe Coulibaly’s performance in the tournament.

Tatum reiterated in the interview that before the start of Summer League, the coaching staff had told Coulibaly to focus on his defense, and that he had delivered with his spectacular defensive performance.

"“He is trying to defend everybody. Whether we put him on a wing, a big, or a guard, he tries to make every play possible at the rim.”"

The impressive shot-blocking of Coulibaly clearly caught the eye of the Wizards coaching staff. His rim protection in transition or in help defense was beyond his years. According to Tatum, this helped Coulibaly gain more confidence, which will help him understand his roles within an NBA team.

Perhaps the most positive takeaway from the interview was how impressed Tatum was with Coulibaly’s coachability. For an 18-year-old who was just selected with the 7th overall pick to be humble enough to be so coachable in a summer league setting is impressive.

Tatum underlines this aspect of Coulibaly over and over again, highlighting his attentiveness, listening skills, and hard-working nature. Tatum states, “he allows me to get on him, and tries to fix the problem when he is on the court.” This is an underrated skill that can make or break a potential star in the NBA.

Hidden behind all these compliments from his coach, Coulibaly also received some constructive feedback. According to Tatum, Coulibaly still has ways to go on his pick & roll defense. As impressed as Tatum was with his rim protection, he wants to see the young Frenchman be better at bothering the ball handler with his size and athleticism.

That shouldn’t be too big of a problem. A player with his work ethic and physical tools shouldn’t take long to show improvement in any area.

Summer League is all about showing flashes, and Bilal Coulibaly certainly did that in Las Vegas. So much so that his coach can’t stop talking about it. Let’s hope he continues to leave his coaches in awe throughout his NBA career.

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