From the In-Season Tournament to the individual high-scoring performances, this NBA season has been extremely interesting, to say the least. But what’s catching the attention of a lot of fans are the trade rumors that continue to circulate via social media.
So far, there has been an abundance of teams and stars involved in trade talks. The straining Washington Wizards are the most recent team thrown into the conversations. Kyle Kuzma and Tyus Jones are two names that continue to pop up, and for good reason. They are extremely talented at their positions and how they handle their given duties.
But even with those aspects considered, the Wizards made it known that there is only one player who will remain untouchable.
After failing to make the playoffs last year for the second straight season and losing franchise cornerstone Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns during the offseason, the Wizards went into the 2023 draft night with intentions to select a player they can build around. That’s when they decided to take France native Bilal Coulibaly as the seventh overall pick.
The choice to select Coulibaly was widely supported by the Wizards fans. Despite not attending any college, he showed scouts that he had what it took to be in a professional league. During the 27 games he played with the LNB’s Metropolitans 92, he averaged 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds but it was the playoffs where he impressed viewers. In the postseason, he logged in 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game.
When he got drafted, fans in the Washington, D.C. area already knew what to expect. He came into the league known for his ability to cut and slash through opponents. However, it’s his defense which he hung his hat on. He took pleasure in getting between passing lanes and intercepting the ball. He could easily get around screens, as well. All of these factors are impressive for a player who is 6’6” and 195 pounds.
Coulibaly is showing he could have a promising future in the league
Even though the Wizards are currently in a turmoil, Coulibaly doesn’t hold blame. He’s averaging 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds a game, all while starting in just one of the 41 games he played so far. In the one game he started, he finished with nine points, five rebounds, one steal and two blocks against the Boston Celtics while being guarded by defensive specialist Jaylen Brown.
In a draft class filled with phenomonal rookies, Coulibaly is holding his own in rankings. He currently ranks ninth among them in total points, seventh in rebounds, fifth in steals and blocks, and eighth in 3-pointers made.
Though Coulibaly’s plus/minus and net rating needs improvement, he’s still young and developing. With the right pieces around him, he could take the franchise to heights that haven’t been seen since the John Wall-Bradley Beal era and maybe even higher.