, a new face in the French LNB league who is getting a first taste of real competition playing for Le Havre these days. Actually, hes a kid born in 1986 (in December, therefore hes almost an 87 guy) who has never played for the youth French National Teams, so his experience in competitive settings is very limited. Weve had the chance to watch most of the action he has enjoyed with the first team, as well as a game with the Le Havres Espoirs squad (the Espoirs is a parallel competition to the LNB that features only young players).
Although listed at 6-11, Duport stands over seven feet (hes reportedly 7-2) and hes a center all the way given both his size and skill set. This brings the first problem about him: physically underdeveloped, hes very skinny and his frame is not the best around for that position. Decently athletic for his size, hes a mobile enough player to fulfill his duties on the court.
Duports offensive game basically revolves around the paint. He plays nicely off the ball, staying quite active in pick-and-roll settings and trying to take advantage of defensive rotations to score easy baskets from the lane. He likes to go for the two-handed dunk; because although his vertical leap is average, his great length makes the job easy for him. Anyway, his first option is usually the low post. Thats where he gets the biggest chunk of his production playing for the Espoirs. With the veterans, even if he does a nice job gaining a position in the low post despite his weak body, hes rarely fed by his teammates. Anyway, his footwork is still poor and his moves mechanical. Still, Romain is unstoppable playing against youngsters, where he can just receive, turn around and shot over his rivals (usually using the glass), even exposing the ball as he takes advantage of a big size differential; he doesnt need jump-hooks or stuff like that. However, when it comes to facing veterans, he does show a decent right-handed jump-hook, and particularly a nice soft touch around the basket, which is extremely useful for a guy like him. On the contrary, he doesnt seem to have any left hand to speak of, and even when hes going left, he releases a right-handed shot. 1927
Thats pretty much it regarding his scoring punch. Duport is not a face-up guy at all. He virtually never puts the ball on the floor if its not to operate in the low post, and its very uncommon to see him shooting with some range. Still, he did knock down a three-pointer in the Espoirs game we saw, while he looks quite reliable from the charity stripe. His mechanics are solid, although he doesnt completely finish the release move, as he leaves his right arm bended and doesnt take fully follow through with his wrist. Also, he seems to enjoy soft hands to catch the ball, but not too strong to keep it in every situation. We havent seen enough of him to evaluate his passing game, although he looks fairly reliable passing the ball out of the post when double-teamed.
On defense, Romain certainly annoys his rivals with his length, but he could be a lot more intimidating. Hes not a very aggressive player, and doesnt get much shot-blocking production. His defensive rotations are often a bit timid, and his lateral mobility questionable. He seems to have the athletic ability, but he doesnt bend his knees enough and isnt intense enough chasing his match-up. However, hes more solid than expected in the low post; he can get outmuscled, but he isnt afraid of contact and hes decently strong on his knees (always considering his limited strength). Things get better in the rebounding department, where Duport uses his length and shows nice timing to jump for the ball. Indeed he has played a grand total of 44 minutes in the LNB and he has managed to grab 16 rebounds.
As a late bloomer and newcomer to first-division basketball, its a bit early to draw conclusions about Duport. He still might make great strides once he gets used to the new level of competition and improves his body strength. Right now hes not that intriguing aplayer draft-wise. First, his thin frame while displaying a pure centers skill set; second, he doesnt look like a great defender in the making; third, hes not that skilled on the offensive end. Therefore, its hard to envision a hypothetical role for him at the top basketball level. However, he might still draw interest in the second round next year just to gamble on his ability to develop both physically and technically.