By Ludovico Basso
Elite size and wingspan. Pretty fluid athlete, good coordination considering his body/size combination and age. Possess great verticality and the ability to play end to end rather easily.
Not an elite leaper from stationary as he lacks a bit of explosiveness but his long wingspan makes up for it when he needs to catch lobs, protect the rim or disrupting shots. Nevertheless, he can get up with more ease when he has momentum behind him.
Thin body which he needs to fulfill in order to compete at a high level, defenders in the top European leagues are pushing him around at the moment.
Limited skillset with the ball in his hands and doesn’t have a go-to move to consistently rely on yet.
Has shown flashes of a soft lefty touch regardless from the angle he’s shooting from, understands angles and trajectories when laying the ball off the glass which allow him to shoot at a high percentage around the basket. Still needs to work on his right hand.
Though Nzosa likely will never be a 1vs1 treat, what makes him so intriguing it’s his mobility and activity. Due to these tools, he projects to be a great PnR player with catch and finish skills.
Moreover, he displayed the capability of knocking down mid-range jumpers at youth level. I Intriguing versatility, seemed comfortable in both face-ups and post-ups circumstances, his shooting mechanics appear solid and with good elbow degree angle. His passing game isn’t elite but he’s able of making solid decisions and readings, demonstrated good court vision when passing out of the post at youth level.
Nzosa’s impact of this end is remarkable and that’s what makes him a top tier prospect.
He showcased great instincts as a defensive anchor and when defending on and off the ball, with good motor in both instances. Has terrific timing on rotations and has a knack for blocking shots with either hand, though he tends to be out of control at times due to his lack of experience.
Promising footwork, showed good versatility when switching onto guards at youth level and even though he hasn’t fully translated this part of his game to pro level, chances are he will get there.
All things considered, his upside on defense is huge. However, adding some serious mass will be key in order to hold his own down the block among pros but once again, all signs point to an elite defender and rebounder in the future.
Yannick’s combination of athleticism and motor make him an intriguing prospect to say the least.
Questions marks remain about how he will be able to develop his offensive skillset while transitioning his game to Pro level, being a mobile big in an era where the game is played at such a fast pace should be a tremendous advantage going forward.
ACB game Andorra vs Unicaja Malaga - September 2020
By Biel Colominas
Yannick Nzosa had a tremendous first game in the top Spanish league, contributing with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks in 18 minutes, while his team had a 23 +/- with him on the floor. The 6’11 Congolese center became the second youngest player ever to debut in the ACB for Unicaja Malaga, and the third 16-year-old player to score 10 points in an ACB game, sharing the achievement with NBA stars Luka Doncic and Ricky Rubio.
It is known that Nzosa is one of the most intriguing players of his generation thanks to his productivity and potential on defense, and he proved that being a key factor when he was on the court. Since he got in the game in the second quarter, he brought high intensity and ferocious competitiveness, and it increased as the game progressed and he was feeling more comfortable on the court. Nzosa displayed an impressive ability to play any kind of defense on the P&R; using his athleticism to hard hedge and return to his man in a blink of an eye, containing the ball-handler on drop defense and utilizing his elite feet to switch on guards and slide properly against skilled one-on-one players like Jeremy Senglin. Nzosa was also impressive as a defensive anchor: his awareness and instincts allowed him to rotate from the weak side with excellent timing, and he had a couple of high-level actions helping with great verticality and using his huge wingspan to block the shot. On the other hand, he still needs to add weight and strength to his body because he struggles a lot to keep a position inside the paint against opponent’s bigs and guards as well.
On the offensive end, Nzosa had basically a ball-screener role for Malaga, but he was really a nightmare for Andorra’s defense to contain all the mismatches that his speed as a roller produced. He is able to unlock the screen extremely quickly and to make a deep roll which was impossible for Andorra’s big to return, forcing the weak side help to be under the basket. When that happened, all Malaga’s ball-handlers needed to do was to find the weak side corner, where there was an open shot every time. When Andorra tried to adjust these sequences and the weak side help wasn’t that long, Nzosa took advantage of it, scoring all his 10 points when rolling to the basket, showing great hands to receive the ball on the move and finishing softly with his left hand.
Obviously, there are still many areas of improvement and it is impossible to take any conclusions after just one game; but Nzosa has proved that he is ready to produce and be part of the rotation of Unicaja Malaga in both ACB and Eurocup competitions.
Adidas Next Generation Tournament Valencia - December 2019
By Albert Robledillo
After some transfer issues which didn’t let him play with his team, Nzosa finally made his debut with Unicaja. His physical tools are astonishing thanks to his length, with a remarkable 7’4 wingspan, fluidity and ability to run the floor. He is not super athletic but his motor and size makes him a decisive player at this and further stages. Has great instincts on defense: is a tremendous shot blocker (5,4 blocks per 40 minutes) and not only because of his size; he is aware of everything off the ball, is brave and doesn’t shy away the contact. That makes him foul trouble prone (4 per game). Also, has a great timing for rebounds. Nzosa is working on his skills in offense; still looks a bit raw, his touch is not solid enough (48% in two pointers) but has improved his midrange shot (12/15 from the Free Throw line).
Adidas Next Generation Tournament Kaunas - February 2019
By Eugenio Agostinelli
Nzosa was the most tantalizing prospect in Stellazzurra, and he didn’t fail living up to the expectations. His frame is skinny but incredibly wide, his impressive footwork allows him to switch on the pick&roll staying with guards. He’s a threat protecting the rim but must learn how to use his body in the best way, as he gets into fouls trouble very early. He makes smart movements off the ball, can finish against length also dunking on defenders. Finishing with his right hand is still hard for Nzosa, as he prefers to turn on his right shoulder and go for lefty baby hooks. He always takes good positioning to grab boards, boxing out his man and grabbing the ball at a very high point.
Szent Istvan Cup 2019 - February 2019
By Luka Drca
Nzosa was awarded MVP of the tournament. He is a skinny, lefty, very mobile, well-coordinated, big man with huge wingspan. Decent athlete. Runs the floor well. Soft touch around the rim. Pretty light on his feet and explosive. On the post he is mostly using left jump hook. Sets good screens and rolls quickly. Good hands for a big guy. Excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor. Plays with energy. Can make mid-range shots, solid FT shooter. Defensively he is a great shot blocker. Needs to improve his body strength. Not afraid of contact.
2016/17: Stellazzurra Rome (Italy)
2017/18: Stellazzurra Rome (Italy)
2018/19: Stellazzurra Rome (Italy)
2019/20: Unicaja Malaga (ACB, Spain)
2020/21: Unicaja Malaga (ACB, Spain)