Prospect Breakdown: Maurice Ndour

Maurice Ndour’s Las Vegas Summer League Stats

Team: Dallas Mavericks

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[Editorial Comment: Ndour has not cut his hair, the introduction to this article mistook Ndour and Jarrid Famous]

I was disappointed to see Ndour’s new haircut in this video from Mavs.com. Rest in peace, dreadlocks… You will be missed.

Really though, Maurice’s hair isn’t the only intriguing part of his repertoire: his physical tools are unique for a Power Forward, I mean the guy is 6’8″ without shoes and has a 7’4″ wingspan. His lateral ability and overall quickness are things you just can’t teach, and as you can see below, those tools are definitely working in his favor.

 

But he is raw. I mean he is R-A-W. He lacks experience, and it shows in the film. What does that mean?

Well, on the most fundamental level, “The Pick N’ Roll”, he isn’t consistent.

When he’s on a smaller man, he’s not setting strong picks, and he doesn’t get set it for nearly long enough. In this case, he decides to roll for the open shot almost immediately, and even though he knocks down an open look, he tries these quick rolls too often for it to be effective.

It’s a shame he wasn’t used more in this context during  Summer League- since his strides are so long he can cover a lot of ground while rolling to the basket. In the Knicks-Bucks game, he is open several times in the wings for his favorite midrange shot, but doesn’t get the extremely obvious pass. If he plays alongside a floor general and begins developing a post game, he will work very well under any system in the league, and that face up skill can still be a great fallback.

 

Here’s where we get to the biggest issue: his man to man defense.

Ndour pretty much made me pull my hair out on this. Play-after-play he waits for the offense to start its set, and he moves off of Jones [#6] and into the paint to ward off drives. However, he isn’t able to choose between the two quickly enough to warrant the movement in the first place, so now there is an open man anywhere from midrange to the arc. Luckily for him in this case, the Bucks’ playmaker fumbles the ball and he’s “bailed out”.

It gets much worse when he leaves Jones with around 3-4 feet of space to drill an open jumper in his face.

He can be decisive though, but its not always a good thing; like this almost-an-over-the-back call that served no purpose whatsoever.

 

The question you have to ask, though, is, “were these blunders due to boneheadedness? or a lack of experience?”

Remember the Pick and Roll troubles he was having? Well, he reads the situation better here, but still rushes to roll inside, where he clogs up the lane with himself and his defender along with Cleanthony Early[#17] and his shadow.

He goes again, and this time gets the timing down, but during the screen itself, he loses his balance and ends up one pesky flop away from an illegal screen call.

But what really solidifies the sweepstakes here is that his help defense is usually spot on. As long as he’s within a 5 foot radius of the ball handler (usually a guard) he closes the driving lanes on the fly and applies good pressure. Take a look at two of these videos again:

But hey, at least he didn’t go for that horrible over-the-back-waiting-to-happen again.

In fact, as he got more selective with his applying on-ball pressure, he became a much smarter one on one defender.

 

Overall, I like Ndour on the Mavericks as a long term development project. What he brings to Dallas is what their front office has started to recognize as an extremely valuable trait in the modern NBA- versatility. He is the size of Anthony Davis when he was drafted (perhaps an inch shorter), with much less experience and much worse defensive fundamentals. Despite this, he has a solid midrange shot, a surprisingly efficient rebounding game, the explosiveness of a small forward, and a whole lot of potential. All-in-all Maurice Ndour is a low risk, high ceiling prospect who can play the 3 or the 4 in today’s NBA. I fully expect him to make the Mavs’ final roster for the regular season.


Verdict: Maurice Ndour certainly isn’t an Ewok- the guy uses his insane wingspan and agility to beat other forwards off the punch. He plays at the pace of a Small Forward, with the offensive potential of an athletic stretch 4, but has a lot of experience left to gain. He could be one of those second rounders that become solid pieces.

 

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