The Brooklyn Nets could’ve walked into the 2021-22 regular season with DeAndre Jordan on their roster and no one would’ve batted an eye. After all, when you have three superstars, it becomes a bit easier to shoulder a bad contract.
Still, Sean Marks found a way to get rid of him, and he even picked up Sekou Doumbouya in the process.
When the Guinean-born Frenchman fell to the No. 15 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, many believed that the Detroit Pistons got a steal, as a wide variety of experts regarded him as the top international player in the class. His defensive versatility and athleticism gave him the appearance of a dominant two-way star.
As we now know, he flopped in Detroit. The combination of a poor developmental environment brought on by constant losing and his own individual shortcomings as a shooter helped root him to the bench on a Pistons team that was so poor they ended up with the No. 1 pick in 2021.
Intrigued by his potential despite that, Brooklyn acquired Doumbouya and Jahlil Okafor in that deal that sent Jordan (who was later bought out) and four second-round picks to Detroit. The Nets weren’t required to take on Doumbouya, so Marks must be intrigued by what he can offer.
Is this the year that Doumbouya finally finds his groove on the offensive end?
Will Sekou Doumbouya’s offense improve for the Brooklyn Nets?
Doumbouya had worse numbers across the board in 2020-21 when compared to his rookie season. He scored just 5.1 points per game, made 37% of his shots, and connected on 22% of his 3-point attempts. The form on his jump shot is still a bit uneven, and taking such a big step back is concerning.
We know that Doumbouya can play solid defense, as the 6-8 forward with nearly a 7-0 wingspan could cause problems. The issue relates to what type of offensive player he might become. A stationary catch-and-shoot guy? A rim-running big? A mid-range specialist?
If Doumbouya has shown any sort of exceptional ability anywhere on offense, it’s as someone who can use his speed and bounce to get to the basket and finish inside. If that skill is accentuated by even an average jump shot, he might be able to stick long-term in Brooklyn.
Former Pistons teammate Bruce Brown arrived in Brooklyn as a defense-first, offensively deficient point guard expected to ride the bench, and Brooklyn turned him into a defensive switchblade and interior finisher who helped them immensely whenever they needed to lock down on that end.
Doumbouya might not be an effective shooter right now, but he has proven to be more willing than Brown to hoist it up from beyond the 3-point line. He’ll get nothing but wide-open looks considering all of the offensive talent around him, which should help him become more confident and efficient in that area.
The Pistons might try to justify the offloading of Doumbouya by claiming that he was never going to crack the rotation if he was unable to during last year’s nightmare season, but he still has plenty of untapped potential at just 21 years old, and the Nets will take it upon themselves to work with him.
At the very least, the Nets can fill out the back end of their bench with a player that can guard multiple positions like Doumbouya. If he really starts to develop as a scorer for the first time in his career, he could easily crack their rotation in both this season and 2021.
Sometimes, a change of scenery and a new voice in a player’s ear can do wonders. If Steve Nash helps him develop at a quicker rate than Dwane Casey did, the Brooklyn Nets may have stumbled upon a quality reserve for the next few years.