Foreign Relations: Hugo Besson
It's time to grab your passports. Welcome to your International Education. Our first subject...French combo guard Hugo Besson.
Welcome NBA Draft maniacs to your first lesson in International Hoops.
Consider this your journey abroad, as we are going to be keeping up with Foreign Relations throughout the entire upcoming draft season. The international game has continued to spread like a possessed monster each year. Basketball has no borders, as the game continues to see an increase in talent overseas that is eager to find it’s way to the NBA.
Some of you may think that you have a degree in prospect evaluation and personally, I love to hear that. But now it’s time to get your masters. The 2022 NBA Draft class is shaping up to be another strong class filled with talent from all over the globe. These installments are going to focus on the upcoming international crop of prospects that should become popular names in the scouting world.
Welcome to Foreign Relations.
Our first prospect is going to be a young guard that might be considered a bit of a preseason “sleeper” in some circles. Allow me to introduce you to 6’4” French combo guard Hugo Besson. After spending the previous year playing for Saint Quentin in France’s second division, Besson has generated some buzz overseas. In 26 games in the LNB Pro B, Hugo went on to average 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He would also go on to shoot 48.4% from the field as well as 36.5% from 3.
After dipping his toe in the water as a potential 2021 NBA Draft candidate, Besson decided to stay overseas for another year of development. It was a wise decision and Besson is currently preparing himself for a new challenge this year. He’s agreed to play for the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL). Besson will be teaming up with another popular international prospect in French wing Ousmane Dieng. Before we travel too deep down the rabbit hole, it’s important to acknowledge Hugo’s age as he’s currently 20-years-old and will be 21 on draft night. But don’t let that scare you, because Hugo Besson has the potential be a bucket-getting machine at the NBA level.
Now let’s get into the fun stuff.
Besson jumps out on tape with his ability as a scoring threat. The crafty combo guard has some intriguing creativity as an offensive weapon, possessing the tools to score at all 3 levels. If you’re looking for a microwave scorer that isn’t lacking confidence on the floor, then Hugo is going to get you deep in your feelings in a hurry. Enough of the small talk. We all know the real reason you’re here…THE FILM.
First, let me point out that the clip above is going to feature a number of looks at Hugo shooting the ball from outside. Remember earlier when I brought up a bunch of interesting statistics in an attempt to pique your curiosity about Hugo Besson? Well this is the part where I start to get your attention. Now Besson went on to finish his last season shooting 36.5% from downtown, which is sure to get some sighs from the percentage hunters out there. But the numbers don’t always tell you everything boys and girls. Besson has a beautiful stroke from outside and he can light it up in a hurry. When you’re one of the most talented prospects in your entire league, the chances are that you’re going to feel pretty confident about putting up shot attempts on a nightly basis. Besson has some intriguing floor spacing ability, especially as a catch-and-shoot weapon.
Instead of just hitting you with one clip at a time, I’m feeling generous. Here’s another couple of examples of the shot creation that Hugo Besson has in his arsenal. You can tell that Besson has some wiggle to his game. While he has the ability to be a dangerous catch-and-shoot weapon, Besson can also make shots on the move. There’s also some fascinating creation off the dribble in his game. This mix shows a little bit of both. Notice the smoothness to his game. All Hugo needs is a little bit of a window and he’s got the feel to quickly rise into his shot and hurt the opposition in a variety of ways. Yes, that last clip should make you go back and hit the “replay” button.
GIVE ME THE RANGE
I can tell you just can’t get enough of the shooting gallery potential that Hugo Besson has in his game, so I’m going to feed you some more. As I hinted previously, Besson is more than confident with his ability as a scorer. Although he can be a bit streaky, Besson can also catch fire in a hurry and light it up from all over. When he’s in a rhythm he’s not afraid to let you know it. Hugo has a smooth shot that doesn’t need much room to operate. He’s comfortable shooting in all types of situations, whether it’s in transition or on the move. The best part of the clips above is the final clip in which Hugo basically asks the defense “how do you like them apples?”
OFF THE BOUNCE
I know what you’re thinking to yourself…“Well, does he do anything other than shoot from deep?” The answer is yes and this is the part of Hugo’s game that get’s extremely interesting. While you might not think it for a 6’4” combo guard, Besson is fearless and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone. Sure, he can absolutely light it up from outside, there’s no question about that. But Besson also knows that he can set up the defense and create opportunities all over the floor. The overall feel for the game is the part of his game that has me so intrigued. You can tell there’s some recognition of where to attack the lapses in the defense. Another part of his game that is a bit underrated is his athleticism. Hugo isn’t afraid to get downhill and attack anyone that’s in his way (See last clip). I know everyone is obsessed with stats so here’s a cool one for you. Hugo Besson finished last year converting 67% of his attempts at the rim.
PLAYMAKING PART I
For these next two segments, I wanted to split it up into two different parts. Now scoring is all exciting and in the words of Chazz Michael Michaels… “It get’s the people going.” Jokes aside, you want to see if Besson can showcase the rest of his game. It’s going to be an area this year in the NBL that scouts are going to pay close attention to. If Besson can show some more consistency as a versatile weapon on offense, then he’s going to make some noise in draft circles. This first segment of clips is important because it shows Hugo’s understanding of making the defense commit followed by knowing where the ball needs to go. Now some of these might seem pretty basic, and that’s okay. The fact that he shows the vision and willingness to attack specific angles and set up his teammates is something that should check boxes. But if you’re wanting to see some fancier passes then…
PLAYMAKING PART II
These are just a couple of plays that got my attention quickly when it came to Hugo’s play last year. Although Part I (above) might be considered some more “basic” reads, I wanted to make sure to highlight this segment. Each of these passes is unique in their own way. In the first clip you can see that Hugo receives some pressure from the defense and doesn’t panic. He keeps his head up the floor, waiting for the defense to give him a possible window to attack. The moment Hugo sees the defense commit, he recognizes exactly where he’s supposed to go with the ball and throws a gorgeous bounce pass. The second clip features a little staggered pick-and-roll action with a little bit of a slip from the big man. What I love is that Hugo doesn’t even panic when the help defender tries to distract him. He keeps his head on a swivel and throws a gorgeous left-handed dime on the money. The third clip is one that I wanted to highlight because it shows the quick decision making Besson makes under pressure. After Besson get’s cut off from the baseline, it looks like he’s got nowhere to go with the ball. The moment Hugo flips his head around, he already sees his window. His teammate starts flash to the block and Besson is already throwing the ball. It doesn’t look like much, but it shows that the vision and anticipation are there.
When Hugo Besson agreed to play in the NBL for the upcoming season, you can almost guarantee that NBA scouts were intrigued. The NBL has continued to build a reputation for it’s physical playing style. It’s shown to make life difficult for some younger prospects in the past, such as current Orlando Magic guard RJ Hampton. If Hugo can make the transition to the NBL smoothly and demonstrate that his game is continuing to come together, don’t be surprised if NBA scouts start getting intrigued again in a HURRY. Some are going to wonder if he’s going to be up for the challenge but Hugo is going to have a couple of things going for him. On one hand, Besson has been working on his craft and will be a bit older than some of those previous prospects. On the other hand…this is Hugo Besson we’re talking about.
He’s not afraid of anyone that’s going to be across from him and he’s not going to let his confidence break on any level.