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, 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)