TEAM: Zaragoza (Spain)
Thierno Mamoudou Sylla is one of my favourite prospects from 2003 African prospect pool. TMS is averaged 10.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, one steal and one assists while shooting 32.2% from the court and 24.1 from the 3PT.
Physical Tools & Athlectisim
Thierno is tall like many notable prospects in Africa. But TMS is lacking in power. I think he has an ideal width all over your body, but there is a lack of muscle in the arms, chest and lower body. His shoulder muscles are good for his age. He knows how to use his long arms in passing lines, lob, long layup, and alley-oop. Lateral movement is bad. Vertical pop is very good. Hip turns are pretty nice and fast. His lower body is far from ideal but he knows how to transfer energy. I think his first step is soft. He uses this soft step to change direction in the second step. Although 16 years old prospect is 6-10, I think he has an impressive step ability, ability to change direction both in the air and on the ground, and reverse.
I think TMS is a good finisher around the rim. He can finish above the rim with lobs, either hand, has soft touch and through contact a bit. Even though Sylla is lack of power in the paint, he can finish very effectively thanks to his game IQ. I think he really does a nice job keeping the ball away from the defense.
In my opinion he is an average post up player. He shows mix of basic moves with basic footwork faceup spins, reverses, etc. He does a good job getting position but after that, there is a problem of consistency in keeping his position and go to the basket. He likes to reverse spin and go to the basket with his long arms but is not consistent on this subject due to a lack of power.
Impressive PnR player with the skills catch lobs, turns well with soft hands and quick reaction time. What is different from post up here is that he is fluid in the motion game. He has a fluent and explosive athleticism. In other words, while Mamoudou is in the action, can overcome his lack of power with speed, acceleration/burst and game IQ and find score with more comfortable. And the most important elephant room is the shot. Thierno Mamoudou Sylla is not as strong as Khalifa Diop, Ibou Dianko Badji, Amar Sylla, Oumar Ballo, Yannick Nzosa and Babacar Mbaye. He is not as strong as Pascal Siakam and Joel Embiid. He is not as skilled as Siakam and Jo Jo. But Sylla is better shoter than all the names here. I mean, as far as I researched, Siakam and Embiid were shooting very badly at the age of 16-17. They didn't even try to shoot. But TMS does not hesitate to try triples. He uses mid-range jumper after the gives short roll fakes. His shooting mechanism is not perfect, but I think he is very good for a 6-10 16 years old African prospect. He has shot mentality and shooting IQ. He just needs to learn to use it better. If he can, he can be an excellent NBA player with his pure skills.
This kid is the best rebounder I have ever seen among players born in 2003. He did not play much at "hard, challenging, competitive" levels like Yannick Nzosa and Adam Bona, but I think he knows exactly where and when to take rebounds. Double double machine… Thierno is not a defensive playmaker, but pretty sound positionally and technique-wise. He is not player who really directs the defense from the back/talks that much, from what I’ve seen but he knows the defensive rules. In my opinion, he does impressive things paying attention to the on ball action when defending off ball motions. He knows passing lines. Lack of strength hurts his rim protection. I mean, he is not a player who can protect the rim with huge block or gravity thread. However, he reads and reacts quickly to what he sees. So he can cover grounds good but it is not valid for air and around the rim. He knows the timing of sliding and jumping. Even though TMS is not strong, he can defend post zones effectively. He shows some flashes the ability of keeping his position against bigs with quick hands, good body balance, eye-hand coordination and reaction time. He always battle. Btw, his motor is always active both offense and defense. When defending faceup he does not a good job sliding his feet because lack of lateral movement. He needs some work on PnR defense. When the big rolls, TMS is not particularly quick recovering downhill or going to the basket. He is player who I want chasing movement shooters off screens. What is different from PnR here is the speed of action. As I said, TYS is effective where the action is fast. There are two different options during PnR, such as handler or roller. But what he has to do in off ball screen defense is to follow. He can follow his opponent well, read the position well (thanks to his game IQ and quick hands) and thus does not allow the painted area to stay open. He is not a switch defender. Cannot defend guard at high-levels. Average ISO defender. He knows how to use his body for close the angles, passing lines and dribble channels. However, he sometimes fails because of lack of power and early reacts.
This kid knows the ball. He has skills that are pure and impressive. He can shot. He can finish around the basket. He is a very good rebounder. Can defend post, off screen and ISOs. Yes, the lack of power, the fact that he does not play at the high levels, not do some classic things on offense and defense, poses big question marks but I think Thierno Sylla can ideal modern era big in the work environment of the NBA or NCAA.