Although not a high-profile prospect for the NBA, its always interesting to dig into good young players, and Mickael Mokongo is showing that hes already a very useful point guard in Europe.
Its not the most common thing to see a very young French player looking for a job outside his country in the early stages of his career, but Mokongo has already played in Italy and this season he sweats the Banvit jersey in the Turkish League. He hasnt needed much time to adjust: officiating as the starting playmaker, he averages 14.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists, scoring in double digits in every single game of the season (5 to date).
A very small point guard, clearly under six feet, Mokongo makes up for it with his excellent quickness, nice athletic profile in general and his remarkable strength. He shows a rather wide body (relatively speaking while considering his youth) which is nicely built. Hes quite an electric guy on the floor, capable of coming up with short efforts at great speed. He looks terrific in the open court, providing great rhythm to the team in transition.
Not the most creative guy around, Mokongo doesnt stand out with his court vision. Hes more of a drive-and-dish player that uses his quickness to break down defenses. And even if he can eventually get a bit out of control, hes a heady player considering his strengths and main weapons. He usually knows when to push the trigger and when to circulate the ball. A very good ball-handler, Mokongo can attack both ways, either to pass the ball or look for the basket. However, his small size seriously hurts his ability to finish around the rim. He can use both hands there, but he doesnt look particularly effective with creative layups against opposition. Actually, its often easier for him to force a foul and pay a visit to the charity stripe.
Mokongo is a lot more consistent with his shooting stroke. He has range out to the three-point line and nice quick mechanics. He can shoot off the dribble, but looks more reliable in spot-up fashion. Again, his limited size doesnt allow him to go for the jumper unless he enjoys some space to release it. All this obviously means that Mokongo cant create his own shot on a regular basis.
On defense, he showcases his excellent lateral quickness. Blessed with very good feet, he can put a lot of pressure on the ball, and hes not the typical gambler looking for steals. Indeed, Mokongo looks like a rather mature player. He even sometimes becomes a leader on the floor, vocal and supportive with his teammates. Anyway, unless he figures out how to consistently produce points off his slashing attempts, hes probably not going to be considered incredibly interesting draft material. And still, under six-feet players are not the most desired bargains. Still a nice player, thats for sure.