Knicks Pick Candidate #5: Bilal Coulibaly, Metropolitans 92
While everyone’s eyes have been on Victor Wembanyama, Bilal Coulibaly has slowly been snatching those glances in his direction. As a player on the same team as Wembanyama, Coulibaly is naturally going to get noticed more, but he’s risen up draft boards in a way few could’ve predicted.
Coulibaly has split his time in the U-21 team and the senior team for Metropolitans 92 in France, which make his stats more nuanced to consider. At the younger level, Coulibaly dominated, putting up more than 20 points a game in a lead role.
For the senior team, he functions more as a spark plug of frenetic defensive and transition energy.
What makes Coulibaly so enticing is a similar story to both Walsh and Rupert: he’s an insanely athletic wing who has barely scratched the surface of what he could be on offense. He has an improving handle, but he hangs his hat on the defensive end, where his long reach and fast feet have bottled up players all year:
Drafting Coulibaly is not the sort of pick that would move the needle for Lillard, but it might be the kind of long-term vision that Portland General Manager Joe Cronin needs to rebuild the Blazers into a team that can contend in the West.
In a few years, after he’s had the chance to develop in an NBA framework and reach his sky-high ceiling, Coulibaly may be looked at as the biggest steal in the entire draft, which makes him a worthy selection with the Knicks pick.