76ers

2020 NBA draft profile: Théo Maledon does a lot of things well, but what's his NBA potential?

2020 NBA draft profile: Théo Maledon does a lot of things well, but what's his NBA potential?

Théo Maledon  

Position: PG
Height: 6-5
Weight: 175
Pro team: ASVEL (France)

The “other” French point guard in the 2020 draft, Maledon may not be quite as highly ranked as his countryman Killian Hayes, but he’s an enticing prospect in his own right.

Maledon held his own in the EuroLeague as an 18-year-old, averaging 7.4 points and 3.1 assists while shooting 36.7 percent from three-point range That’s very impressive production for a player that age in the second-best league in the world. He’s grown up around basketball, with both parents being former professional players, and his feel for the game stands out when you watch him. His name is pronounced TAY-o MAL-uh-don.

Strengths

Maledon can go left or right on the drive and has a knack for finishing in traffic against bigger defenders. He keeps his head up when he has the ball, allowing him to find open teammates, and is a jet in the open floor. His shot looks smooth, both off the dribble and on the catch. He’s excellent at driving and dishing and making the right decision in those situations. He also has pretty good size for a point guard, with more room to add muscle to his frame.

Weaknesses

He does a lot of things very well, but I’m not sure Maledon has that singular NBA skill that teams would love. He’s a good passer, good shooter and decent on-ball defender, but doesn’t appear elite in any of those areas. 

It’s also hard to know if he can become a big-time scorer in the NBA because he hasn’t shown it yet, averaging under eight points in the French LNB and the EuroLeague. But his lack of playing time has to be factored into any calculations about his future potential. 

In the EuroLeague, Maledon averaged 15.1 points and 6.4 assists per 36 minutes. Those numbers may be more indicative of his NBA potential.

Fit

Maledon is a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect. His production at such a young age proves he can play the game. This season, he led all EuroLeague players age 22 or younger in points and assists per game. And his per-36-minute numbers demonstrate that he could become an impact player down the road.

He’s used to having the ball in his hands, so playing with Ben Simmons would be an adjustment. But Maledon would give the Sixers a young backup point guard with a ton of potential. His shooting ability may allow him to play off the ball as well. And when Simmons posts up, Maledon would give the Sixers another option to run the offense.

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Twitter drama with Joel Embiid and Kendrick Perkins involves liked and deleted tweets

Twitter drama with Joel Embiid and Kendrick Perkins involves liked and deleted tweets

Joel Embiid doesn’t tweet much nowadays.

He appeared to make a statement, though, via a recent tweet he liked.

ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins on Wednesday night criticized Embiid for noting he “hated” the NBA’s plan to restart the season at Disney World and still does not think it’s safe enough. Perkins’ reaction was devoid of empathy and did not address Embiid’s legitimate concerns, instead framing Embiid's comments as "just an excuse."

Embiid then liked a tweet showing “prime Kendrick Perkins,” which features air balled jumpers, ungainly charges and many other lowlights. 

Perkins later felt compelled to reply with a reel of more positive NBA moments for himself. 

A champion with the 2008 Celtics, Perkins averaged 5.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 782 NBA games. A three-time All-Star, Embiid has career averages of 24.1 points and 11.5 rebounds. There's clearly a disparity. 

There was another layer to the mini-drama Thursday afternoon as Perkins reacted to Embiid wearing a hazmat suit before boarding the Sixers’ flight to Orlando.

Perkins tweeted the following in response to Embiid’s attire: 

However, according to a slew of Twitter users commenting on that post, Perkins initially sent and then deleted a harsher message that told Embiid he should have opted out.

While Perkins’ antics have been foolish, they shouldn’t overshadow Embiid’s legitimate concerns. Perkins does not seem to acknowledge that it's possible to weigh various factors before making a difficult decision, which is what Embiid has done by choosing to travel to Orlando despite being wary of playing during a pandemic, and in an area where cases have recently spiked. 

The Sixers’ first game at Disney World is scheduled for Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers (see schedule).

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Joel Embiid shows up to airport in hazmat suit as Sixers depart for Disney World

Joel Embiid shows up to airport in hazmat suit as Sixers depart for Disney World

Nobody will ever question whether Joel Embiid has a sense of humor.

A couple days after stating that he "hated the idea" of the NBA’s bubble in Disney World, the All-Star center showed up to the airport wearing what appears to be a hazmat suit (see video above).

The Sixers are departing for Florida where they will begin a short training camp. They’ll play three scrimmages and eight seeding games before the playoffs begin.

Embiid on Tuesday voiced his displeasure with the idea but explained why he decided to play.

“Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the idea," Embiid said. "But then again, I’m going to do my job. I’m not going to let the city down. I’m going to represent my city — that’s what I’ve always done — my family, my teammates. The mindset doesn’t change.”

The Sixers' first seeding game will be against the Indiana Pacers on Aug. 1.

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