In the next part of our season preview, we take a look at the players to follow in the French ProA. This preview does not feature Rudy Gobert who has already been presented in a previous article and I will not speak either of Mam Jaiteh who will play in the Pro B this season. Check below if you want to know who might be the most interesting prospects of the upcoming season in the highest French division.
Axel Toupane – 2m00 – SF –1992 – SIG Strasbourg
This season should be the final break-out for the athletic wing player from Strasbourg. With his nice wingspan and defensively minded game, Toupane should see good minutes on the wing under the current National Team coach Vincent Collet in Strasbourg. During the pre-season, the small forward had some good games but was not very regular as a scorer. His main task next to making jump shots will be the defensive work on the opposing wing players. His long arms will help him to be tough on the man and play in the passing lanes as well. Offensively, Toupane has still some upside but he might develop more into a defensive stopper than an dangerous offensive threat in the next years.
Stats: 2.5ppg, 1.5rpg
Hugo Invernizzi – 1m96 – SG/SF – 1993 – SIG Strasbourg
This could be the season of Hugo Invernizzi. After a year with several small injuries, the former INSEP player showed some promising things in the pre-season and was even top scorer of Strasbourg in one game. His shooting skills together with quite a good understanding of the game should help him to see good and especially regular minutes on the wing where he can learn from experienced players like Jeff Greer and Gerald Fitch. Invernizzi needs to become a better defender though in order to make the next step and improve his passing skills. Like this, he can quickly become a very important rotation player for his team already this season.
Stats: 3.8ppg, 0.9rpg
Livio Jean-Charles – 2m04 – PF – 1993 – ASVEL
After a first season on the professional level, Livio Jean-Charles should see a good increase of playing time this season with an ASVEL team that has lost some of its depth. With his athletic and hustle play, Jean-Charles is the kind of player you want to have on your team to do the dirty work. However, the question is how far can his team go this season after a pre-season with a lot of turbulence. This might hurt Jean-Charles in his development but also gives him the opportunity to grab unexpected minutes. With an improving three-point shot and his still great offensive rebounding, Jean-Charles continues to play as an undersized power forward but has adaptation to the professional level works better than expected.
Stats: 1.1ppg, 1.6rpg
Joffrey Lauvergne – 2m10 – PF/C – 1991 – Elan Chalon
This season will be important for the French inside player as he will now have to make the step from being a talent to become a regular contributor. With his length and touch, Lauvergne can develop into a stretch-four if he improves his ball handling to attack the basket. Overall quite mechanical, Lauvergne will not become a fluid inside player but he likes to battle in the paint and use his strengths well. He suffered from some smaller injuries in the beginning of the season which might have hurt his preparation for his first ever Euroleague season where he will have an important role in the paint with his centimeters. The NBA Draft seems a bit far away for him right now as his upside potential is limited and he lacks the necessary speed and athleticism for the Big League.
Stats: 6.2ppg (57.6% 2FGs), 4.5rpg
Louis Labeyrie – 2m09 – C/PF – 1992 – Paris-Levallois
After having seen a lot of minutes with the poor team from Hyères-Toulon, Louis Labeyrie made a step forward and will now try to get his job done with one of the top teams. The lanky and athletic inside player should normally be used to come of the bench and give some energy in the paint with his verticality and scoring instincts. Quite mobile but definitely lacking the necessary physical presence, Labeyrie might suffer a bit in the beginning of the season until he has reached the level of his new team. Nevertheless, being still very young, it was the right step for Labeyrie as he will get used to a better level but should be able to get some good minutes even this season.
Stats: 9.1ppg (60.1% 2FGs), 6.5rpg, 0.7bpg
Our Wildcard will be the Swiss forward Clint Capela from Chalon. The 2m08 tall player had a great preparation where he was the surprise for the team of Gregor Beugnot. In the season opener, he saw also some minutes already and it is possible that he will have a nice impact in his first real season.