SLUC Nancy was one of the main attractions in the Euroleague this season because of the presence of the French National Team player Nicolas Batum. However, since his departure, the team struggles in the main competition but they find some time to integrate one of their most interesting prospects into the regular rotation.
Certainly the first Seychelles-native to play in the Euroleague, Abdel Kader Sylla is a 2m05 tall inside player born in 1990. He has an enormous 226cm wingspan and great athletic abilities. Since the 4th game of this season in the Euroleague, Sylla saw regular minutes and looks currently as their first inside rotation behind Akin Akingbala and Victor Samnick and has doubled Moussa Badiane who looks like leaving the club soon. Having seen several games this season from Nancy, it is a good moment to give an impression about the player who was present at the adidas Eurocamp last summer.
Contrary to what you could expect, Sylla is not only scoring on dunks and put backs. He is not afraid to play with his back to the basket when he gets the ball in the low post. Sometimes, he forces these moves a bit too much as he wants to show that he can score. Basically, he has no real moves in the low block except a jump hook that he can execute though with both hands. He crashes the glass really hard and plays above the rim to grab the missed shots.
He can play PF and C for the moment, even if he lacks the necessary centimeters to fight against the seven footers. As far as we heard, Nancy tries to work with him to develop also a face-up game and being a player capable of attacking from the outside on the dribble. In the games we saw, he did not show anything like that though so it is difficult to judge what his potential is to become a stretch four or even a Small Forward. His shot should be quite good as he netted all his five free-throw attempts this season.
Defensively, he does a good job of boxing out for rebounding and grabs the ball generally high with two hands. His timing for shot blocking is good and his long arms help him a lot in these situations especially when coming from the weak side. The main problem with Sylla is his lack of experience for a player that is already 21 years old as he did not play on this level before because of passport issues.
Right now, he is far away from being an NBA player but his wingspan and athletic potential; he is though not an athletic freak like Biyombo or Ibaka; might open some doors for him in the future. He needs to establish himself first in France and earn 10-15 minutes on a regular basis and show that he is able to be a factor on both ends of the court. He is on the right track at the moment and his stock will certainly raise throughout the season.