|Team: Frankfurt, International|
H: 6' 9"|
W: 172 lbs
(17 Years Old)
|Agent: Jan Rohdewald ||
Hometown: Neuwied, Germany
Bogdan Karaicic takes a closer look at Isaac Bonga's 26-point performance against likely postseason qualifier Leverkusen in the German third division (Pro B). Bonga had his best game of the season only few weeks removed from a strong showing at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Kaunas.
Bonga turned 17 in November, but is nevertheless holding his own in a professional league against grown men. The German-born forward of Congolese descent is averaging 18.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per-40 minutes over his last 10 games.
Bogdan Karaicic is a video analyst for DraftExpress. Follow him on twitter and check out his website BHoops.com for more video breakdowns. He will be breaking down the NBA draft in digital format all year long for us, so check out his archive frequently.
-Bonga will be one of the main attractions at this camp for NBA scouts, as he's established himself as one of the top international prospects born in 1999 with strong showings at the U16 European Championship, the NBA Basketball Without Borders Europe Camp in September, and recently the adidas Next Generation Tournament in Kaunas. He's already seen a handful of minutes at the pro level in first division Germany with Frankfurt, and is coming off some very strong performances recently in the third division, where he plays mostly at point guard despite standing 6'9. Bonga's ball-handling, passing and overall creativity give him great upside to grow into, but NBA scouts will want to get a better feel for where he stands in terms of his perimeter shooting and explosiveness, areas where he'll have to improve to reach his full potential as a prospect.[Read Full Article]
Isaac Bonga, 6-10, Point Forward, Frankfurt, 1999
-Impressive set of physical tools for a point forward at 6' 10” with a 7' 0” wingspan. Somewhat narrow-shouldered but a solid frame that will continue to fill out.
-Extremely fluid with impressive footwork for his size. Long strides. Can weave in and out of traffic in transition.
-Very impressive basketball instincts and court vision. Plays an unselfish brand. Plays point guard and really always has. Sees over the top of the defense at 6' 10”. Very comfortable finding the roll man out of ball screens. Uses both sides of the floor. Can push and playmake in transition.
-Quick feet allow him to change speeds and directions on a dime as the primary ball handler. Fairly advanced handle for his size. Regularly uses hesitation dribbles to beat his man and get into the teeth of the defense.
-Fairly quick twitch defensively in large part due to his agility. Plays hard on the defensive end – regularly picked up point guards 94 feet, sliding quite impressively for his size. Length and anticipation allows him to make plays off the ball – 4.1 steals and 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes at the ANGT.
-Stroke isn't broken when he's left alone. Has made strides there. A bit slow and mechanical but the ball comes out okay with decent rotation.
-Solid instincts on the glass.
-May not have reached his athletic potential – first action back after missing time with a thigh injury. Could gain some explosiveness as his lower body fills out.
-Great teammate and high intangible kid. At his best with talent around him, which Frankfurt didn't have all that much of at the ANGT.
-More smooth than explosive, especially as a leaper. Plays almost exclusively below the rim at this stage. Lack of bounce really hurts him as a finisher – 43.2% from two in Kaunas.
-Can he score efficiently in the half court? Not much of a threat to pull up off the dribble unless he's given time and space. Has some touch but jumper still needs work, especially the speed of his release. Lack of speed, average explosiveness at the rim coupled with a shaky jumper makes him quite guardable in the half court once he's playing with players that have similar physical profiles
-Improved as the tournament went on but he lacks a degree of alpha dog mentality. Tends to defer a little too often. Very unselfish but, with a fairly underwhelming supporting cast next to him, Frankfurt could have used more of a scoring punch and aggression from him.
-Turnover prone in large part due to his tendency to overpass. Will get into the teeth of the defense with a chance to finish at the rim and force a pass to the dunker or kick to a non-shooter. Playmaker by default at times.
-Tall and long, but he isn't overly wide shouldered.
-Will a team make him their primary ball-handler? Not very effective off the ball because he's not a great shooter and is really best as a playmaker. Will be best on a team that will play him on the ball.
The 17-year-old German (Congolese parents) point forward was far and away the best long-term prospect in Kaunas thanks to his unique blend of physical tools and basketball instincts. Without much talent around him, Bonga struggled at times to score efficiently, something that's not exactly in his nature anyway, but he showed enough of his talent and versatility on both ends of the floor, averaging 18.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.1 steals and 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes. Bonga has some clear areas for improvement – namely scoring in the half court, limiting turnovers and knowing when to score and when to facilitate – but 6' 10” point forward types with length, fluidity, defensive potential and a strong basketball instincts don't grow on trees, making Bonga a very intriguing prospect for the 2018 NBA Draft.
-Has tremendous size for any perimeter position, having measured 6'9 in shoes
-Body is underdeveloped but has significant potential to continue to improve. May be able to increase his athleticism significantly in turn
-Big hands and very long arms
-Rangy and fluid athlete who operates at different speeds. Has long strides operating downhill
-Spent quite a few minutes at the point guard position and looked comfortable doing so
-Extremely effective taking rebounds off the defensive glass and igniting the fast break
-Has a highly advanced feel for the game for someone his age
-Plays with a calm and mature demeanor
-Creative and unselfish passer who regularly makes highlight reel caliber plays seeing over the top of the defense. Finds teammates sprinting the floor in full stride with pinpoint passes for layups
-Shows solid touch from the perimeter. Regularly makes 3-pointers. Throws the ball in the basket when left open despite his unconventional mechanics.
-Already a highly versatile and effective defender with the potential to develop into a huge threat on this end of the floor.
-Likes to play defense and has incredible tools to do so thanks to his size, length, instincts and competitiveness. Covers ground extremely well. Gets in a stance, moves his feet and can pressure the ball
-Racks up blocks, steals and rebounds at a very impressive rate.
-Not overly explosive vertically. More fluid than anything. How much more athletic will he get in time?
-Misses more shots around the basket than you might hope
-Only 188 pounds. Lacks strength in a serious way at the moment, especially in the lower body. Affects him significantly as a driver where he isn't strong enough currently with the ball
-Jump-shot is a work in progress. Doesn't have a natural stroke. Has a long and slow release. Guides the ball with his off hand Doesn't show much ability to make pull-up jumpers if the defense cuts off his driving angles. Needs to work on his off the dribble shooting ability.
-Needs to improve his ability to operate without the ball. Not just with his shooting but also as a cutter. Needs a lot of dribbles at the moment to be effective
-Still figuring out how to value the ball consistently. Makes a lot of unnecessarily risky passes trying to thread the needle for highlight reel caliber passes.
-Has suffered some nagging injuries early on that hopefully won't hamper him long term
Outlook: Easily the best long-term prospect at the event. Draw quite a few comparisons to Giannis Antetokounmpo from scouts in attendance with his style of play. Born in Germany, but parents emigrated from Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the early 90s. Comes from a soccer family. Older brother plays professionally for Leverkusen, while older sister also competes at a high level. Has all the makings of a special prospect with his size, ball-handling ability, passing and defensive versatility, but will need to improve his shooting significantly to reach his full potential long term, as he isn't an overly prolific scorer at the moment. Was identified early on as a top-level talent in his age group in Germany. Invited to play at the U16 European Championship already as a 14-year old.