At the beginning of this year's "Draft season" there was a lot of curiosity building up around french point guard Theo Maledon. Some considered Maledon a potential lottery selection in this years class. Unfortunately, Maledon dealt with some nagging injuries throughout his season with ASVEL Basket before heating up towards the end of the season. While Maledon might not find himself going somewhere in the early lottery on Draft day, he's still a very intriguing NBA prospect that could thrive if lands with the right team.
Theo Maledon has been playing in France for ASVEL Basket and has been mentored by former french point guard and San Antonio Spurs legend Tony Parker. There's been a serious amount of praise and excitement about the skillset that Maledon has in his disposal. Although Maledon's production won't wow you, his combination of vision, pick and roll potential, and outside shooting all leave you intrigued about his transition to the NBA level. Maledon has good size at 6'4" and plays the game under control.
There's plenty of examples when you watch the film on Theo Maledon that impress you with his vision and recognition of opposing defenses. This is just a fantastic pass. You often don't see players have such confidence in throwing a wrap around pass with their off hand to the corner. The fact that the pass is placed in the perfect pocket for the shooter is notable as well.
The more you watch Maledon on tape, the more I'm intrigued by his potential as a transition threat at the NBA level. Maledon didn't rank as high as you would like for transition offensive overseas this year, but you also have to take in that he was banged up for a majority of the year. Here, good demonstration of Maledon knowing how to push the ball up the floor. Notice how he does a great job of getting the defense to react to his ball fake before locating his teammate on the weakside corner.
Maledon doesn't wow you but he makes some just overall brilliant plays with the basketball in his hands. That's the thing with a prospect like Maledon. Sure, the numbers and film don't scream a "sexy pick" but he also might come in and be a dream type of rotational asset early on in his career. Notice the recognition by Maledon here once he gets downhill. He reads the big man collapsing and puts a perfect drop pass for his big man.
One of the more intriguing developments when you watch Maledon play is his outside shot. He has good form and shows the ability to shoot on the move or in catch and shoot opportunities. While Maledon only posted a 33.3 3P% this year, his numbers should improve with more repetition. He's got a solid form and has good footwork especially when he's set.
If there is a specific area of the game in which you want to buy into Theo Maledon as a NBA player, it's his ability in the Pick and Roll game. Maledon has some serious potential to be a monster in this aspect of the game. He's got sneaky quickness and has a great understanding for creating angles and putting teammates in position to succeed. Nice example of Maledon here as he get's a hand off and then splits the following P&R set.
OFF OF THE BALL
Another good look at Maledon's ability as a shooter from outside, this time it's moving to his left and coming off a screen. There's some good overall fundamentals to Theo's shooting form. While he brings the ball just a tad low, I do like the footwork that he has in his game. Not too much motion, just simple and compact.
P&R ABILITY PART II
It's obvious on tape that Theo Maledon is the most comfortable in P&R situations, and it bodes well for his NBA potential. Maledon has some underrated shiftiness in his game and could thrive with the right NBA team that allows him to continue to grow with patience. Maledon already has ideal size, passing instincts, and overall offensive awareness that you look for in a first-round point guard. There's an argument that he has some "steal" appeal as late first-round selection.
VISION PART II
Another great look and Maledon puts some flare on this dime. Great recognition by Theo to read the slip and see the weakside defender is out of position. While it might look like an easy assist, I'm still paying close attention to how on-the-money the location of this pass was.
FEEL FOR THE GAME
Just continue to come away impressed with the general feel for the game that Maledon has. Great job here of being patient and allowing this angle to develop. Maledon is two steps ahead of the defense on this play and he knows exactly what's about to happen. Notice the small movement to create a better angle for the delivery of this pass.
Theo Maledon of ASVEL Basket in France has been one of the more interesting prospects I've evaluated in this years class. There doesn't seem to be a lot of "love" in Draft circles for the recently turned 19-year-old point guard. While I understand how evaluators might be turned away from the lack of production, I am personally fascinated with the idea of Maledon falling into the laps of the RIGHT NBA organization. Maledon screams "value" to me if he ends up with the right organization. Theo has been praised for his work ethic and approach to the game, and if a playoff-caliber team scoops him in the second-half of the first-round...it could be a phenomenal pick. There's plenty in his overall game that needs to continue to develop, but the combination of pick and roll ability along with his passing vision, make Maledon a desireable asset early on in his career.