Sekou Doumbouya in the Detroit Pistons starting lineup is really still a thing, and a great thing it is indeed. And it seems like it may never end. Doumbouya started his fourth straight game Tuesday evening against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 115-113 victory.
The 19-year-old and youngest player in the NBA is not afraid of the stage and is well equipped to do damage on both ends of the court. Doumbouya’s play has been, of course, not without its blunders, however, he’s making the right play more often than not.
Doumbouya’s line against the Cavs: 16 points (6-of-9 shooting), two rebounds and three steals. He also became a father, an executioner and a legend. Let’s get to some clips.
Doumbouya is pretty much on an island against a generally mediocre post option in Tristan Thompson. Thompson will try to muscle you and has some touch to his game at times. Doumbouya stays in ready position and doesn’t give up even an inch. Doumbouya will not be bullied. He contests Thompson’s shot as well, though it does leave him a bit out of position — but it didn’t end up costing them.
I’ve been impressed for the most part by Doumbouya’s lateral quickness and his defensive technique. He has active hands and is more than capable of holding his position. He’ll get much stronger as time goes on but he’s already got a little something for the league. He is grown man strong at just 19. In this sequence, he switches to Matthew Dellavedova and then immediately attacks him up close and personal. Delly isn’t known for his quickness, rather, he’s known for his scrappy and savvy ways. Doumbouya stayed home and was fairly safe in his attack, careful not to bail the unlucky guard out.
Sekou closed out on Kevin Love in a controlled fashion. Even when Love got just a bit of separation (thanks to using his off arm) for a millisecond, Sekou recovered and then contested Thompson’s floater attempt. Thompson likely shot that a hair quicker than he would have liked, although the shot clock was winding down anyway. I think Sekou’s presence had something to do with it. Again, pretty quick feet from Sekou while he kept his body in a basketball ready defensive position. His movements are smooth while also being positively demonstrative. A nitpick perhaps — Sekou took himself out of the play with trying to swat Thompson’s shot into the lake, but you have to like the activity. Plus, Andre is there so it’s probably not a big deal. (P.S. Didn’t like Galloway turning his entire back on the play for that long. Have to see the ball, see your man.)
Here’s an excellent pro-level post move on rookie two-way contract forward Dean Wade. The righty flip on the left side of the cup was extra nice. The footwork was crisp, and you might even say crafty, too. Sekou needs to enjoy these rare feasts because as word gets out, there won’t be many opportunities where an end of the rotation player will be asked to guard him on an island like that.
We know by now that Sekou is a very good athlete and can jump and run and move at a certain elite level. Here he gets out quick on the break and gets the feed from Rose, catching it and finishing righty on the left side again. If you have to finish righty, you have to finish righty. It was a clean catch and controlled finish. I like how Sekou didn’t out run the break also, though it may just have been more of Rose slowing a bit to allow a correct lane option to present itself at the precise time.
Not only was Kevin Love a brat just a few days ago in having a tantrum of sorts on the court while being frustrated with a play call, here against Sekou he forgets how to play even basic fundamental defense. What kind of close out is that? He sure set up his teammates to fail miserably. Let’s give Thompson some credit for trying to take a charge at least.
CRUSH’EM ALL DOOOOUUUMBOOUUYYAAAAA:
So this is what it feels like to have a shiny, new and awesome toy to play with. I think most of us have forgotten that Detroit basketball can actually have nice things!
What are you all out there noticing about Sekou so far?