After selecting the consensus best player in the draft, Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs didn’t pick again until the middle of the second round. With their only other pick in the draft, San Antonio selected another long, athletic French player.
With the 44th pick the Spurs selected Sidy Cissoko from the G League Ignite. The 19-year-old hails from Paris, France. He played one year of professional basketball alongside Scoot Henderson with the Ignite where he averaged 12.8 points, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals and a block per game. He shot a respectable 46% from the field, 30% from three and 65% from the line in his sole season.
Cissoko was a starter and connective wing for the Ignite. His athleticism and size jump off of the page immediately. Cissoko is around 6-foot-7 with a 6-10 wingspan. He uses his length to bother players on the perimeter. He was effective defending pro-level players, holding them to 38% shooting from the field. Players who were guarded by Cissoko averaged .84 points per possession, putting him in the 68th percentile among all G League defenders. However, he was a bit undisciplined as a defender in the G League who fouled too often. The wing averaged 3.3 fouls per game.
Cissoko has a higher IQ than most players his age. He is a strong cutter, as well as a talented and willing passer. He had an assist percentage (an estimate of the percentage of teammates baskets that were assisted by him while he was on the floor) of 17.5%. San Antonio’s best passing wing, Jeremy Sochan’s assist percentage was 13.6% last year.
Cissoko is not much of a creator. Don’t expect him to generate much offense off of the bounce. He doesn’t have many go-to moves that he can use to get him a bucket. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem in San Antonio where he will likely be utilized more as a 3&D wing who can be a connector on the offensive end.
Cissoko shot just 30% from three total, but shot a slightly more respectable 34% on catch and shoot three pointers. His jump shot has some movement, but it went in enough off of the catch to be optimistic about the development of his shot. If he ever gets to the point where he is shooting above 35% from three, he will earn a role in the league.
The wing may spend some more time in the G League next season with the Austin Spurs. There is a chance the Spurs only used the 44th pick so they could make a selection that is more willing to sign a two-way contract. With the new collective bargaining agreement, teams now have an additional two-way roster spot.
Cissoko projects as an athletic wing with 3&D potential if he can refine his skills. Spurs fans should be excited to have a good athlete with high feel that can develop with a coaching staff that has a good track record. He may spend more time playing in Austin than San Antonio in year one, but this is great value with the 44th pick in the draft.