International Profile Part 3: Yannick Nzosa
Sometimes we refer to players as animals. Guys who are freakishly athletic and play with a high level of tenacity always gain their respect in the basketball world. For 17-year-old protege Yannick Nzosa, he shows to be a player that understands his role. He’s the type of player who wants to win and shows it with his impact on the floor.
An In-Depth Look at Nzosa
Get to Know Nzosa
For those who may not be aware of the name, Yannick Nzosa is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He would fall in love with basketball at the age of 12 and eventually participated with Italian clubs and the ANGT (Adidas Next Generation Tournament). During the 2019-20 season, Nzosa would join the Unicaja of the Liga ACB. Although he has been limited in his two seasons, Nzosa already shows to be a valuable prospect.
There’s something that is unique about Nzosa when he plays. He’s super mobile and quick on his feet. He has an underrated skill set to put the ball on the floor and create plays for himself and others. Nzosa can attack the basket well while also running the pick and roll with his teammates. If people look at his stature, they would assume that Nzosa would be a one-dimensional player. In reality, he has a package that many in his position don’t have. With tremendous footwork and understanding of positioning, Nzosa shows great value as an offensive talent.
Let’s also not forget the side of the floor where Nzosa is notable for. On the defensive end, Nzosa is active among getting shops. Due to his terrific footwork, switching is something that Nzosa excels at. He shows the will to either guard the interior or even step out and guard the smaller man. Also, his shot-blocking is a form of hustle and gratitude on that end of the floor. Nzosa being an active defender helps set the tone for his team. As he creates stops on the defensive end, it makes everything easier on offense.
Impact in the ACB
At the beginning of the 2021-22 season, Nzosa is steadily improving as a basketball player. Through three games this season, he is averaging 2.7 points in 13 minutes of action. For a player of his size, it is interesting to not see Nzosa’s rebounding numbers rise. He’s averaging 2.6 in his two seasons in the ACB. He is so lengthy and shows the ability to protect the paint. Many would believe that Nzosa would average double-digit rebounds. If he averaged more minutes, maybe we’d see a different outcome.
A room for improvement for Nzosa is to see if he can find a consistent mid-range jumper. He shows the versatility to play multiple positions. When a player has that type of caliber, shooting is important. Nzosa can be a little hesitant on his jump shot. The form can use work as well but he has knocked down shots on occasion. Although it doesn’t have to be his strong suit, Nzosa being a mid-range shooter could torch defenders and force them to step out. It’s an area that can take his game to another level.
Another area in his game is adding strength. Being 215 lbs at 6’11 is not ideal for Nzosa and his future. Although he is mobile, oftentimes he can be bullied by stronger defenders under the rim. As we saw the transition of Giannis Antetokounmpo adding muscle to his frame, the same thing could benefit Nzosa in the long run.
If there is a chance that Nzosa declares for the NBA Draft, he will elevate as a top prospect in the class. There is too much potential for this kid for teams to pass on him. Nzosa has only shown a small package of his true potential. With more experience at the next level, Nzosa could blossom into a terrific talent.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images