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Could Sekou Doumbouya be a good pickup for the Grand Rapids Gold?

Is Sekou Doumbouya a good project player for the Denver Nuggets developmental pipeline?

2021-22 Brooklyn Nets Media Day Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Yesterday, Sekou Doumbouya was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Houston Rockets along with an unprotected 2024 second round pick for cash considerations. And according to Shams Charania, Sekou Doumbouya will be waived by the Rockets.

Sekou Doumbouya was drafted only two years ago by the Detroit Pistons with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft. He showed flashes while with the Pistons; for example, there was an eight game sample (from January 1st 2020 to January 15th 2020) where he averaged 14 points per game along with five rebounds per game on 54% from the floor and 41% from downtown on 3.6 three point attempts a contest.

Even with those flashes though, it just was not enough to keep Sekou in Detroit. He was the last young player added to the roster prior to Troy Weaver taking over the front office in Detroit, and it was clear Weaver was not that enamored with him. He was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets over the off-season for four second round picks and DeAndre Jordan, who was later bought out by the organization.

So now, Duombouya’s been on three teams in just a few months and is currently without a job. Keep in mind, he’s still only 20 years old. That gives him plenty of time to develop in a good situation. Young, athletic 6’8” forwards are generally coveted by teams for good reason, and just because Sekou didn’t figure it out in a poor situation in Detroit doesn’t mean it can’t work out for another team.

That’s where the Grand Rapids Gold come in. This is the first season the Nuggets will have a G-League affiliate. There are many purposes for a G-League team, but one primary reason is for the development of young talent that can’t develop on their actual roster. There will be players on the Nuggets roster who are occasionally sent to develop on the G-League team, but for the most part, the Gold will be made up of players hoping to develop, improve, and break back into the NBA.

Sekou needs a home, and the Gold need players; and if all goes well Sekou could develop into a piece that the Nuggets could use. He’s a willing cutter and a hell of an athlete. He’s a 6’8” forward with a nearly seven-foot long (6’11”) wingspan, and has shown upside on the defensive end. Like on the play below — Sekou makes a rotation and uses his length to get a steal. It’s not the flashiest possession, but it shows good anticipation and use of the tools he’s been given. If he could consistently be a good defender and cutter, that’s a player that fits in well next to Nikola Jokic.

Here’s my elevator pitch to the Nuggets, the Gold, and you: Sekou Doumbouya is a 20-year-old French prospect who has never had a stable environment in the NBA. If the Nuggets can provide him with a home to grow, I think he will prosper. I think he’ll be a solid defensive-minded player in the future, someone who can get a block or steal on one end, and dunk it on the other. He could be a solid rotation player eventually, and I think if the Gold gave him a shot, they might just strike gold.