Foreign Relations: Ismael Kamagate
Bring your passport, we're heading to France to talk about an intriguing big man that's making some buzz in Paris Basketball center Ismael Kamagate.
“The libido. The life force. The essence. The right stuff. What the French call a certain... I don't know what.”
- Dr.Evil (1999)
Now that I allowed Dr.Evil to set the tone for you about our “trip” overseas, let’s talk about an intriguing big man who is starting to generate some buzz. Draft maniacs, meet Ismael Kamagate, a 6’11” 220-pound big man who is currently playing for Paris Basketball. You’re going to hear one word mentioned often throughout this segment when we are talking about Kamagate. That word is POWER. Kamagate jumps out on tape with his ability inside the paint. Anytime he finds himself with some real estate in the middle of the key, it’s only a matter of time before the athletic big man launches for emphatic slams as he attempts to rip down backboards.
Kamagate is an intriguing big man prospect because of his combination of strength, athleticism, and defensive instincts. During the 2020-21 season, Ismael went on to average 9.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in 24.3 minutes of play. This was throughout his play in both the LNB Pro B and Leaders Cup LNB B play, as Kamagate also went on to post an impressive 70.4 FG%.
After showing some flashes throughout the opening games of the 2021-22 season for Paris Basketball, Kamagate has started to put together a nice stretch of games as of late. In his last four games, the French big man is averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 76.0% from the field in around 24 minutes of action.
Alright I know, I know. Enough of the small details, let’s get into the goods.
When you watch Kamagate play, you know that he’s not going to be a player that is looking to space the floor just yet. He understands that he can do the most amount of damage around the basket with his combination of strength and explosiveness. Still, it’s important to get any potential look at what the big man has when it comes to an outside shot. It’s honestly a bit better than I was expecting at first. Ismael showed a number of times on film that’s he willing to take some shots from the midrange and his mechanics aren’t out of whack by any means necessary.
DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION NOW?
If you’re hoping to see plenty of pick-and-roll actions in which the French center gets the ball in his hands with bad intentions…then boy did you come to the right place. It’s almost as if Ismael just starts powering up the moment he enters the lane like Mario eating a mushroom in Super Mario World. He’s got the ability to get up in a hurry the moment he finds himself anywhere around the basket and he’s not afraid to finish through contact.
CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF
There’s a number of times on film in which you just start to see Kamagate dive to the basket before you find yourself screaming at the passer “HIT EM!” That eventually is followed up by an emphatic “OH GOOD LORD.” I love the way that Kamagate isn’t afraid to go for the big slam whenever he has some daylight. There’s also been some flashes in which the 6’11” big man has shown the ability to adjust to contact in mid air. Obviously the athleticism continues to pop on tape, and it’s terrifying to think what he can do once he continues to fill out his frame.
TOUCH AROUND THE BASKET
As I’ve hinted earlier, there’s no denying that the 20-year-old big man has plenty of raw areas of his game. The footwork is still a work in progress, as it can get a little wild at times. Still, I found myself intrigued with the flashes of touch around the basket. Kamagate has this long sweeping sky hook that is actually incredible and if he brings it back to the NBA game I’ll immediately buy as many jersey’s as I can get my hands on. There’s some quickness to his game and I find myself intrigued at the developmental upside the more I watch.
One of my favorite sequences when watching any big man prospect is seeing them get a little nasty on the boards. This is exactly what Kamagate does here but I love how quickly he explodes back up for the slam. Go get the ball at the highest point, a quick gather, and then right back up for a powerful slam.
YOU WANT DEFENSE? FINE, LET’S TALK DEFENSE
While I was pleased with watching Kamagate on the offensive side of the ball, I quickly started to say out loud “Okay Ismael, you got my attention” when I saw his defensive upside. There’s some talent waiting to rise to the surface here, there’s no denying that. A number of times on defense, I found myself intrigued with the footwork. Kamagate has some serious mobility for a player of his size. He will need some fine-tuning, but he can change directions quickly and he invites defenders to attempt to muscle up against him. Great job here of staying with the play for a pair of rejections at the rim.
Another great example of the instincts and anticipation that Ismael Kamagate has in his defensive bag. I love how he keeps his feet active here and reads this play like a book. Kamagate knows exactly what is going to happen here and he waits for the right time to explode. Great job of attacking the ball up top.
HEAD ON A SWIVEL
This was one of my favorite sequences from Kamagate on the defensive side of the ball. The beginning of this play features some motion in which Kamagate is supposed to get a screen away from the ball that would potentially open up this driving lane for the defender. After it happens, Kamagate quickly get's his head around to locate the ball. The timing has to be perfect here and he quickly reacts to the drive and comes across the lane for an impressive rejection up top. Just a solid play that shows some timely awareness for the big fella.
This international class is shaping up to be one that is going to have a serious amount of prospects that could intrigue teams in the later portion of the NBA Draft. Paris Basketball center Ismael Kamagate has a long way to go with his development, but he’s started to show some signs of production and upside that should have the attention of scouts and NBA teams moving forward. The potential for the French center to become an interior presence with defensive upside is there. If Kamagate can continue to develop and show improvement with the rest of his game throughout the year, he could become an intriguing stash option for a team that is looking down the road. As of now, he’s a name to keep an eye on as his combination of raw skills on both sides of the ball look to have plenty of room to blossom.