Brooklyn Nets 2017-18 Player Previews: Yakuba Ouattara

BROOKLYN, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Yakuba Ouattara
BROOKLYN, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Yakuba Ouattara /
BROOKLYN, NY – SEPTEMBER 25: Yakuba Ouattara
BROOKLYN, NY – SEPTEMBER 25: Yakuba Ouattara /

This offseason, the NBA began allowing teams to add two roster spots to their team with the new Two-Way contracts. Yakuba Ouattara, who not much is known of, is one player the Nets used a Two-Way contract on.

2016-17 Season Stats (LNB Pro A): 11.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 51 FG%, 40 3P%, 29 G

In late July, the Brooklyn Nets decided to use one of their two-way contracts to sign a player many have not heard of. The Nets signed shooting guard Yakuba Ouattara with the new previously mentioned G-League two-way contracts.

These contracts allow teams to now hold up to 17 players on their rosters. This was definitely a signing many didn’t see coming to say the least.

It may be smart however, as GM Sean Marks most likely scouted him while overseas with coach Kenny Atkinson. Marks has seen potential in many under the radar players in the past. With that said don’t be surprised if Ouattara turns some heads very soon

Many fans don’t know much about Ouattara. Sure many know he measures in at 6’3 and plays shooting guard, but Ouattara is one of the most interesting players on the Nets training camp roster.

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Ouattara has unique heritage in his blood as he is Ghanaian-French. This makes him only one of two current basketball players of this nationality. While he is both Ghanaian and French, Ouattara began his professional career in France.

Ouattara was just 20 years old when he began playing pro ball. He began his career as a member of the Élan Chalon in the LNB Pro A. Ouattara would spend two years with Élan Chalon before entering the 2014 NBA Draft and going undrafted.

After not getting an opportunity to play in the NBA, Ouattara continued his career overseas. He would sign a one-year deal with the ASC Denton-Volitaire PH. The team was then in the LNB Pro B at the time of Ouattara’s signing. Following that season, Ouattara returned to the LNB Pro A. He left France and went to Monaco, and signed with AS Monaco Basket and spent two years with the team.

While in Monaco, Ouattara saw much success with the team. Ouattara was named a French Pro A  All-Star last season, which was his second with the team. And a few months ago, Ouattara helped bring the team to the 2017 Leaders Cup. The Leaders Cup is the annual championship for professional basketball teams in the LNB.

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It includes both leagues Ouattara has played in, the Pro A and Pro B divisions. The game occurred in Disneyland Paris and saw Ouattara’s Monaco take on ASVEL Basket. Ouattara and his MVP teammate, Sergiy Gladyr, helped lead their team to a 95-91 victory in Paris.

Ouatarra’s showing in the regular season and postseason would of course earn him a chance to prove himself on the highest level, the NBA. Now there’s a lot for Ouattara to learn, and potentially a long way to go for the young shooting guard. As we’ve seen in the past, Euroleague stats aren’t everything. Players averaging less than 5 points have been top 5 draft picks in the past, so statistics don’t mean everything.

In his first season in Monaco Ouattara averaging 12.9 points. Ouattara did manage to average 11.7 last season, not terrible, down from his scoring the season prior, but good considering points per game averages from former players playing overseas that have become stars in the NBA.

As far as Ouattara’s opportunity with the Nets goes, it has yet to be seen what type of role he’ll be in. We know he’ll be spending time in both the G-League and main roster due to him being signed to a two-way deal. We do not know tough when and to what capacity he’ll be featured. Ouattara can give the Nets even more scoring off their already high scoring bench unit.

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With that said, it would be interesting to see him towards early November. Reason being is the Nets’ November schedule includes contender and tough teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Nets can get the best of a contender by inserting a wild card player like Ouattara. With a lack of an ability to scout him, he may be able to get the Nets some unexpected offense and give guys like Jose Calderon a tough time on the defensive side of the ball.

While the Nets do have a plethora of guards seeking playing time, injuries and the depth that coach Atkinson seeks may result in Ouattara finding his way to the roster early in the season.

Another route we may see Ouattara go through is the revamped G-League. The Nets affiliate, Long Island Nets, may very well use Ouattara in a big role. Reason being is LI Nets lost the rights to Beau Beech in the G-League expansion draft. The Long Island Nets have been a spot for Sean Marks to send talent to let them develop.

Players like former Net Yogi Ferrell spend much time in the G-League before getting their chance to shine in the league. Sean Kilpatrick is another example of a G-League alumni who made a splash upon entering the league. So maybe the best choice for Ouattara would be to prosper in the G-League for a bit before getting a chance on the main roster in Brooklyn.

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Whatever path Ouattara takes, one things for sure, he is a wild card player on this roster. Ouattara is a guy many may not take as a serious to make it onto the main roster. With the new two-way contract spots however, we may see Ouattara get a big opportunity at some point this season.

The french league product may not be well known now but Ouattara may be able to surprise many and make an impact on the 2017-18 season for Brooklyn.