|Team: NON-NBA College Team: Rouen|
H: 6' 9"|
W: 218 lbs
(32 Years Old)
|Agent: Pedja Materic ||
Hometown: Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Best Case: Obinna Ekezie
Worst Case: Olumide Oyedeji
When it was all said and done, though, it was Alain Koffi who ended up being the hero for Le Mans in the closing minutes. Coming in off the bench following a long rest after Phil Ricci fouled out, Koffi scored one basket on a post-up move to push Le Mans up by four late in the game, and then scored again on an offensive rebound put-back to finally put the game out of reach.
The French 1983-born big man is having a breakout season for Le Mans, and this is actually a great opportunity to touch on his progress here.
Koffi is intriguing first and foremost because of his awesome physical attributes. A 6-10 PF/C with a 7-4 wingspan, he’s an excellent athlete whose skill-level is finally starting to catch up to his physical tools. He’s averaging 9 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes in the French league, and 7.5 points and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes in the Euroleague. Koffi was a menace in both games we saw on the defensive end, blocking 5 shots both coming from the weak-side or sliding his feet and rejecting his man on the ball. His timing looks terrific, as does his activity level, and his excellent lateral quickness allows him to cover power forwards just as well as his recently improved strength allows him to hang with centers. It was really impressive to see the way he can just smother his matchup with his imposing wingspan, and even use his length and instincts to get in the passing lanes.
Although his physical tools allow him to really make his presence felt as a rebounder, at times you felt like he was relying too much on his athleticism rather than being fundamental boxing out his man. His team got outrebounded by a good margin in both games I saw, particularly on the offensive end. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed when you see an athletic specimen like him go up and snarl away a one-handed rebound in mid-air.
Offensively, Koffi is not a very fluid player, looking fairly mechanical in his post moves (besides some basic hook shots) and seeming very hesitant to shoot the ball from medium range, even though we saw him hit a few both in games and in practice. Thinking too much has been a problem with him for quite some time, but from what we can see and also were told, he’s getting a lot better in this area this season. By all accounts, his attitude is excellent, and he really does want to achieve his full potential as a player.
Koffi has one more season on his contract after this, and it’s quite possible that he becomes a hot commodity on the open market already this summer. Le Mans was offered a 700,000 Euro buyout a year and a half ago by a team in Russia, but they decided to hold onto him to see how he continues to develop. He missed all of last season with a broken wrist he suffered in Summer League playing for Cleveland, and is really starting to blossom now at the age of 24. It’s not out of the question that he ends up playing in the NBA someday, since players with his tools are rare commodities and he’s probably good enough defensively to at least make a roster.
Very good athlete who runs the court and gets off the floor quickly as well as anybody in Europe his size. He is not afraid of physical contact and uses his vertical leap and explosiveness to dunk or rebound in traffic. He is a very good transition player, knowing where to go to get easy buckets.
Offensively, Koffi has improved his range on his jump shot this year; he’s become efficient out to 16 feet, especially on the baseline. When getting the ball in the low post he generally chooses between working for a hook shot (his go to move) and finishing strong at the basket.
Defensively, his long arms and timing help him become consistent in terms of rebounding and shotblocking in the French league. His man to man defense is solid, he can also cover his guy on the perimeter because his lateral quickness is above average and he does not bite too much on pump fakes.
He started playing basketball late, so he is not a finished product, but has become a productive player this year for one of the best teams in the French league. His work ethic is tremendous; he has a very good attitude towards the game and is always eager to learn.
While his frame will allow him to bulk up easily, he lacks size (6-9) to defend against stronger and taller big men. He is often used while defending the pick and roll, but suffers a bit in the paint.
He displays a lot of energy but does not have a very good knack for rebounding yet, especially when it comes to positioning himself and boxing out.
He does not score or go to the line that much because he is not a big part of the half court play of his team. He has to work on his handles on the perimeter and on his range to be a consistent threat on the offensive end, as he is still raw here right now. You will not see him taking an NBA 3pt shoot anytime soon, he simply does not have that type of range.
He started basketball mostly at the center position, and will have to adjust to being a full time PF in the league. He would probably be a more interesting prospect had he displayed the same skills two years ago, but right now at age 22 his upside or potential value may be deemed limited compared with other PF’s in this draft who are already established players.
He’s playing for LeMans who are the leading team in France for two seasons now and competed in the ULEB Cup this year. He showed that he can be an efficient scorer at times in short spurts with 7.5 ppg in 17 mpg.
He’s a borderline second rounder who will interest teams that draft European projects and let them improve in Europe. If his learning curb stays the same he can possibly be a rotation player for an NBA team in about 2 years.
Alain Koffi is having a very consistent season this year, improving on his play last year in many areas: scoring outside the paint, using his athleticism to grab offensive rebounds, and being more involved in his team’s ball movement. His team plays a lot of zone and he is used half at the center spot and the other half at a forward spot, and he has become very solid here.
Koffi was selected to play for the French national team (led by Boris Diaw) last summer before getting injured and subsequently dropped.