Why was Coulibaly drafted so high?

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The wing from France had an impressive season playing alongside Victor Wembanyama for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, turning head’s before last week’s NBA Draft.

Before the event, it was expected that Coulibaly would be showcased in next year’s draft, but his performance during the latter half of the season in France propelled him into the top 10 of this year’s, picked 7th by the Pacers, on behalf of the Wizards.

The team at AGS explores the factors behind Bilal’s pre-draft ascent and his impact on Washington, who are rebuilding after trading Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis to begin the off-season.

Player Profile

  • At 6´6 with a 7´2 wingspan, his physical and athletic tools are incredible

Coulibaly thrived as an off-ball player for the Metropolitans 92. Nearly 40% of his offense came from transition (23.1%) and cuts (15.1%), indicating: high activity level, tremendous feel for the game, and a fitness level that enables consistent movement without the ball

Growth Opportunities

While he dominated the U21 competition in France with 21.9 Pts, 6.4 Reb, 2.5 Ast, 2.6 Stl, and 1.2 Blk, there are elements of Coulibaly’s game that he will need to commit to in order to find success in the NBA:

  • Better from three: only 0.5 makes per game 
  • Offensive presence: Just 11% of his overall possessions were as the primary ball-handler 
  • Diversified scoring: 20% of his jumpers were off the dribble – 78% of them catch and shoot  
  • Ball security: 36 ASTs/39 TOs

In-Season Improvement

When comparing the two halves of his season in France, there were characteristics associated with April 1st that stood out:


  • 11 of his 12 highest possession games were from April to June
  • 10 of his 13 lowest possession games came before April


  • 13 of his 16 best-scoring games came after April 1st
  • 11 of his 15 lowest-scoring games were before April


  • Of the 16 games where he played >20 minutes, 13 were before April 1st
  • 10 of his top 12 games in minutes played came after April 1st 

Shot Attempts

  • His top 9 FGA games came after April 1st
  • His lowest 12 FGA games all came before April 1st 

Although he is only 18, Coulibaly showed tremendous on-court maturity and marked improvement as the season progressed in France. As a result, he was featured more offensively for the Metropolitans, putting up 77% of his double-digit games after April 1st.

In his next chapter, while the Wizards continue to revamp their roster, Coulibaly should find plenty of opportunities to play and impact the team, and with summer league starting next month, we will all have an opportunity to see just why Coulibaly was drafted so high.