NBA Draft Combine prospects held zoom media sessions with Theo Maledon among the first group; a player in the OKC Thunder selection range.
Many of the early group who spoke to the media via zoom video sessions as part of the NBA Draft Combine process have been from the projected lottery group. One prospect who falls in the OKC Thunder selection range (25th) is French point guard Theo Maledon. The youngster played with ASVEL in the LNB Pro A league as well as with LDLC ASVEL.
At 19 he’s been playing with these French teams for the past three years alongside other pros and former NBA players. The NBA official site has his full zoom media interview for your perusal.
Theo Maledon media session highlights:
Maledon has experienced some fluctuations in his performances albeit at 19 there is ample time for the youngster to grow within the NBA.
Ties to other French players:
The point guard is well connected with the numerous French players in the NBA such as Tony Parker and Nic Batum who he stated offered him great advice on transitioning into the pros. He did note it was more difficult this year to interact due to the pandemic.
He has relationships with other French players such as Frank Ntilikina and Timothe Luwawa-Cabarrot who he interacted with on the National team as well as Rudy Gobert who he cited as someone he had a great relationship with and has been extremely informative and helpful.
OKC Thunder will interview Maledon
As with all these sessions, many of the journalists asked about specific teams the prospects have already met (interviewed) with. Maledon noted he had spoken with nine teams and although the OKC Thunder were not in that mix he was scheduled to interview with them the Friday after this media session.
As for fit, he called the Thunder a franchise with a great culture and specifically cited Chris Paul as someone who has inspired him. The youngster likes both CP3 and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander feeling the and the Thunder are a hard-working team and would be helpful to him growing and feels he would be a great fit with OKC.
In fact, it seems Maledon has watched quite a bit of Thunder basketball citing CP3 as the player he watches film on for pick and roll examples and Russell Westbrook as the player he watches specifically for fast-break examples.
Growth, assets, something to prove:
Asked what he can bring to the team who selects him, the Frenchman said he can offer winning experience and feels his three years of playing professionally will factor in his transition.
He suffered a shoulder injury this past season that kept him out for approximately two months and did impact his shooting. He’s well aware that has affected his projected placement in the draft but won’t use that as an excuse. Similarly, he concedes to having a chip on his shoulder based on how far down the draft ladder he’s fallen.
Maldeon feels the Euro League is better than the NCAA and subsequently is why he feels better prepared to transition to the NBA. In terms of the areas of his game, he needs to grow the youngster said he wants (and needs) to improve everything and knows he’ll need to prove himself from day one in the NBA.
As with all the top 60 draft prospects, Thunderous Intentions will provide player previews leading up to the NBA Draft.