Pacôme Dadiet: On the Cusp
In what many are perceiving to be a weak and chaotic 2024 NBA Draft class, French wing Pacôme Dadiet has the chance to emerge as a potential breakout candidate.
Can you remember discovering a great album or watching one of your favorite movies for the first time? Finding a supposed gem in the endless zeitgeist of modern culture is an exhilarating feeling. It’s also one of the aspects I enjoy most about working in the draft space. The process of film watching can be monotonous, but when a prospect bursts onto your radar for the first time, especially when they aren’t perceived as some no-brainer talent, it makes the grind of tape study much livelier.
While many evaluators tend to anxiously sit on their hands if you will during the summer offseason period, for others, it’s a time to put your craft to the ultimate test. I like this because there isn’t a specific player or team to watch, as there is during the season. You’re just going from game to game, prepping for the upcoming draft classes, with a plethora of options to peruse. Wandering down these scouting rabbit holes like Alice in Wonderland led me to find my favorite sleeper for this class.
I was watching a game between Ratiopharm Ulm and Real Madrid from the 2023 Adidas Next Generation Tournament over the summer, with no real expectations going in. Truth be told, I was mainly watching to get my first glimpse at some of the prospects on the Spanish stalwart roster, such as Egor Demin, Hugo Gonzalez, and Jan Vide. However, it was a player from the lesser-known German club that caught my attention the most as the tape rolled on. Pacôme Dadiet, a 6’8” French wing for Ulm, blew me away during the contest. His 21-point performance was a two-way showcase of his dynamic scoring ability, shotmaking prowess, and defensive potential. He looked like a future first-round pick and in a perceived weaker 2024 class, felt like someone I needed to keep tabs on for the upcoming cycle.
Since then, Dadiet hasn’t had many opportunities to display his talent with Ulm. In 22 appearances this season for the team, he’s only averaged 13.3 minutes per game. The limited chances haven’t afforded Dadiet much room to gain traction in the draft community. Our own Ignacio Rissotto even touched on this when he highlighted Dadiet in his piece earlier last month.
He’s been mostly relegated to a complementary role off the bench, which has come with its growing pains too. Additionally, having to play next to ball-dominant, playmakers like Juan Núñez and Trevion Williams has reduced what Dadiet has been able to do himself as a shot-creator.
This isn’t to say that Dadiet hasn’t had his own struggles either, just from being a young prospect trying to adjust to playing in a minimized role and league. Much of the warts he has as a player aren’t anything special. He gets caught watching the ball too often defensively, rushes at times offensively, and lacks physicality overall. You’ll see the Frenchman have difficulty with all of these things in the video compilation below.
I realize that Dadiet still has much to prove and plenty of room to develop before he’s truly considered to be NBA-ready. However, in a draft year that again seemingly has many leaving with a lot to be desired, taking a swing on a high-upside prospect like Pacôme could make sense for many franchises.
Moreover, the flashes he’s shown recently have been extremely encouraging in my opinion—specifically how he played against projected Top 10 pick Zaccharie Risacher when Ulm faced JL Bourg a couple of weeks ago. Although his team lost, Dadiet shined in the outing. He finished with 14 points, three rebounds, and two stocks while hitting both of his attempts from beyond the arc. Like bubbles emerging from the surface of a pot of boiling water, it felt like a step in the right direction for an exciting young prospect in search of some confidence.
The Temperature’s Rising
One of the biggest strengths Dadiet has shown in his sparse minutes I feel is his adaptability to contribute in a less glamorous, low-usage role. The Ulm coaching staff has confined him to playing as a 3-and-D wing who is asked to defend proficiently and hit open shots when presented with them. Some young players can get frustrated by not being allowed to showcase their full repertoire or feel as if they’re not being utilized correctly. I haven’t noticed that with Dadiet though. He’s checked his ego at the door, and delivered despite the lack of playing time he gets. There have been rough patches, sure, but Dadiet has pushed through those and provided plenty of evidence of being a capable pro one day.
There have been questions about Pacôme’s ability as a shooter, but I like what I’ve seen from him in that department. Mechanically, his shot is aesthetically smooth to watch as he sports an effortlessly fluid delivery. He’s got a high release point, making it tough for defenders to alter his shot, and can quickly get it off with ease. Per Synergy Sports, Dadiet is currently in the 87th percentile in points per shot rank on off-the-dribble jumpers and the 57th percentile on catch-and-shoot jumpers. He’s also shot 35.3% on catch-and-shoot threes this season. Even if the sample size has been relatively small, those numbers are a promising sign of the kind of shooter Dadiet can blossom into one day.
In the highlights above, you see Dadiet effectively display his capabilities as a catch-and-shoot threat, but it’s the few clips where he creates and drains two pull-up stepback threes over air-tight defense, that caught my attention the most. As he gains more confidence, I hope to see Dadiet take more shots like those. It’s these types of flashes that make me buy into his long-term potential as a dynamic three-level scoring threat.
Dadiet’s secondary skills offensively are nice compliments to his shotmaking ability too. Again, the opportunities have been narrow, but I like what I’ve seen from him as a tertiary playmaker and cutter. There isn’t much analytical data to support these claims, so I candidly can’t make an argument for him from that perspective. Nonetheless, this is more of an eye-test read on my part; I’m trusting the film in this instance.
Pacôme’s shown good patience as a cutter in the half-court while also excelling in transition. He accelerates quickly in the open floor, almost like an NFL receiver, filling lanes for would-be passers to set him up for an easy transition score. Even though Dadiet could be a more powerful finisher at the rim, he’s got some nice touch and craft with his off-hand that doesn’t get enough praise as well.
If he can’t score himself, I like that he can be a threat with his connective passing chops. By no means is Dadiet going to be the playmaking hub of an NBA offense anytime soon, but as you’ll observe in the video below, he can make the extra pass when it’s there off the live dribble, or swing the ball to the weak side if a teammate is open. That selflessness is nice to see from a prospect who is predominantly known for their scoring ability.
Defensively, I’ve found the early returns from Dadiet to be equally as enamoring. At a reported 6’8” and 210 pounds, he’s got a phenomenal frame and should only benefit greatly from an NBA strength and conditioning program. Sporting elite length, adequate athleticism, and agility, Dadiet’s physical tools aren’t hard to see. He’s a mold of clay in this regard, the defensive potential is oozing out of him.
His length allows him to submerge smaller guards, while also giving Pacôme the ability to quickly recover ground when needed. Shooters seem to have trouble getting their shots off over him because of this too. He’s a nuisance on the ball and at the point of the attack, showcasing great hands to pester ball handlers for possible steals or get in the way of passing lanes. Per Real GM, Dadiet currently has a 2.1% steal percentage. His instincts and nose for the ball are clear as day. I believe he’s just scratching the surface of what type of defensive disruptor he may evolve into at the NBA level.
Plus, I love the way Dadiet scrambles around in rotations and his urgency as a help defender. In the video reel below he does a good job of consistently getting through screens, switching onto different players, and closing out hard-to-contest three-point attempts. His defensive range could be special, and as he gets stronger, I expect Dadiet to become more comfortable with physical play, making him a stouter defensive menace.
The Gem of the 2024 Draft?
If you haven’t heard by now, most people think this draft class isn’t good, to put it mildly. It’s something I’ve repeatedly mentioned in this piece already, but I think it’s an important factor to point out when discussing Dadiet’s possible rise on draft boards in the coming months. I’m not trying to convince you that this draft is going to suck. However, in a class that’s perceived as weak by many evaluators and doesn’t have a clear, consensus at the top, taking a gamble on a prospect like Pacôme could be worth it.
We’ve seen in recent years, names such as Bilal Coulibaly, Franz Wagner, Jalen Williams, Ousmane Dieng, and Taylor Hendricks, all surge up the ranks, then go way higher than anyone projected them to on draft night. I see something similar happening for Dadiet, with the caveat that Ulm will hopefully expand his minutes and role soon. The 2024 NBA Draft is shaping up to be more unpredictable than anyone imagined, why couldn’t that open the door for a player like Dadiet to become this year’s unexpected riser?
Big wings that display two-way dynamism don’t grow on trees. Especially ones that also have the scoring upside that Dadiet exhibits. I will continue to harp on too that the fact he’s still contributing in such a condensed role for Ulm, makes me optimistic he can help an NBA rotation sooner rather than later. He’s got the makeup of an OG Anunoby-type player in my opinion and could reward a team similarly as he has with Toronto if they approach Pacôme’s development with the same patience.
This might be a draft that’s rough around the edges, but amidst the fog of disappointment, is a gem of a prospect in Dadiet. He’s a Top 20 player on my board currently, and I don’t see many others in this class with his same potential. If you’re looking for someone on the cusp of breaking out of their shell this cycle, look no further than the young Frenchman.