NBA basketball: Africans to follow during the 2021-22 season
Senegalese Gorgui Dieng.
© Reuters / Jasen Vinlove
Text by: David Kalfa Follow
The 2021-2022 season of the North American Basketball Championship (NBA) begins October 19.
RFI offers you a selection of six African players to follow during the coming months in the NBA.
Precious Achiuwa (Toronto Raptors / Nigeria)
After an encouraging first season in the NBA at the Miami Heat, the 22-year-old interior was nevertheless sent to Toronto.
When Raptors president Masai Ujiri bets on a young player, he's rarely wrong.
Especially when it comes to a promising young compatriot like Achiuwa.
In Canada, the native of Port Harcourt will have the opportunity to flourish within one of the most African franchises in the league and under the watchful eye of the strong Cameroonian winger Pascal Siakam.
Gorgui Dieng (Atlanta Hawks / Senegal)
After six and a half seasons in Minnesota, a year in Memphis and a few months in San Antonio, the 31-year-old hub has taken over the management of Atlanta.
Hawks who had a superb 2020-2021 exercise, concluded with a defeat in the conference final against future NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks.
Within his new franchise, the Senegalese will bring his size (2.09 meters), his experience and his confidence.
Gorgui Dieng is indeed coming out of a 2021 Afrobasket where he finished top scorer (20 points average) and where he carried the Lions to third place.
Sékou Doumbouya (Los Angeles Lakers / France-Guinea)
“Splendeurs et misères” could be the title of a book on the debut of the Franco-Guinean in the NBA.
After a grandiose winter 2019-2020, the 20-year-old winger then found himself cataloged dilettante with the Pistons.
So much so that he was ejected from Detroit in September 2021. He finally landed with the Los Angeles Lakers with a precarious contract which guarantees him little playing time in the NBA.
Within a workforce of experienced superstars (LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, etc.), the native of Conakry can only learn and grow.
With a healthy rebound?
Joël Embiid (Philadelphia Sixers / Cameroon)
The Cameroonian is coming out of a breathtaking 2020-2021 exercise from an individual point of view, as he finished second in the vote for the best player of the regular season (MVP) trophy behind Serbian Nikola Jokic.
However, all is not rosy for the pivot of 27 years, in this month of October 2021. The second best element of his team, Ben Simmons, does not indeed want to defend the colors of the Philadelphia Sixers.
Can the Australian playmaker spoil the season of an Embiid more determined than ever to win the NBA title?
Jonathan Kuminga (Golden State Warriors / DR Congo)
The Congolese should miss the start of the season with a knee injury.
Which is never very good for a newbie in the NBA.
But the kid from Goma, just 19, has enough potential for the Warriors to patiently wait for him and push him forward tactically and on offense, in particular.
Victor Oladipo (Miami Heat / United States-Nigeria)
For two and a half years, the American-Nigerian has been chaining injuries and setbacks, he who seemed on the way to becoming one of the best full backs in the NBA.
At the Miami Heat, where he has been playing since March 2021, the former resident of the Magic, the Thunder, the Pacers and the Rockets is not the star.
But he can claim the title of the most vengeful player.
Its agreement with the interior Bam Adebayo, also of Nigerian origin, looks promising.
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