By Artau Pascual

Last week, Eurohopes was in Ulm, Germany, to get a close look at Ratiopharm Ulm’s facilities and attend the games the local team played against Crailsheim Hakro Merlins and Zacharie Risacher’s JL Bourg. One of the players we had the chance to evaluate live was 2005-born French SF Pacome Dadiet.

Pacome Dadiet is one of the most overlooked guys in the 2005-born generation thinking about the biggest stages. Standing at 6’9, Dadiet has all the tools an offensive player needs to thrive at the highest levels: he has the shot-creation skills, the driving ability and the mix of touch and size that are the foundation of every elite scorer. The only thing Dadiet has not had in the last year and a half is exposure. He missed a part of the U17 World Cup because of some issues he experienced during the tournament, and he had to wait until January 2023 to make his debut with Ratiopharm Ulm. Finally, last Summer, he wasn’t part of the U18 National Team for the European Championship. After these absences, he’s been part of Ulm’s first team roster, and he’s finally back at his 100%, leaving behind some tough times related to some bothering ankle issues.

When evaluating a player like Pacome Dadiet, the first thing we must remember is that he’s developing as a prospect and at the same time adjusting to a role he had never had. He’s been used always to be the type of high-usage, main ball-handler perimeter player with few off-ball duties, and now Ulm is asking him to be part of an engine with other initiators and heavy-usage players. The current scheme, as well as thinking about the mid and long-term will surely give have a prominent role, currently asks him to be a secondary threat whose main contribution to the game is in the margin of the offense.

Pacome Dadiet’s role, development, and ceiling

Dadiet is still on his way to fully recovering his explosiveness and burst. That’s due to those above-mentioned ankle issues, a barrier in terms of driving aggressiveness and finishing in the restricted area, and also to some physical changes such as a growth spurt -went from long-end 6’7 to 6’9- and the bulk-up process. A good exercise to remember what he can do in this area is his early 2023 game against Real Madrid’s U18 team: he was able to get to the rim at will against huge rim-protectors and wings and put his team back in the game for a while. The list of players able to put together a stretch like that one, in terms of rim pressure and self-creating looks, is pretty reduced in the 2005-born generation -might be only Pacome Dadiet and Nikola Topic-.

Let’s focus on what he’s providing right now. Dadiet’s main offensive source, at this point, is spot-up shooting. Watching him live, the feeling is his shot looks consistent and balanced. He’s difficult to contest because his release point is very high, and the release is quick and smooth. The next step for his spot-up game will be improving his decision-making, which will be a swing skill for him to develop as a driver. His first step is fairly good and his off-the-dribble ability will eventually allow him to get his shots up from the mid-range off one or two dribbles, so he has the foundation to turn into a three-level scorer. The same applies to other off-the-ball scoring areas like cuts: Dadiet is not a player who limits himself to staying in the corner and following the scheme, waiting for the open shot. He’s often involved in movement sets and has a feel to understand what ball-handlers are doing. In this sense, the thing he has to work on is timing. Once he adjusts his timing and game perception to the flow of the game, given his physical attributes and scoring tools, he’ll turn into a player able to contribute with several easy, efficient points per game.

Dadiet has lately shown some of those things that make him a special player. In the last month, we’ve started to see him getting some points that not every player can score. We are talking mainly about mid and long-range self-created off-the-dribble looks that are surely going to be the main reason why he’ll gather NBA Draft attention. This is, simply, a game-changing skill when a player figures out how to put it all together. Dadiet meets all the requirements to translate his self-creation ability to the next stages: the above-mentioned size and release point are obvious things, but his footwork organization, the amount of space he creates for himself and his pullback fluidity are also key attributes to unleash his game. 

His main challenge is now to put all this together. Dadiet, like every other teenager, is going through a process to find his place and climb in the team hierarchy, and he’s in the ideal environment to achieve both goals. He even had to adjust to playing some PF for many stretches of the first part of the season due to Ulm’s injury plague. That’s why his game against JL Bourg was great to get a look at him. After a quiet first half that also showed another part of his game that is convenient to consider when evaluating him - needs to keep working on the next-play mentality-, he belonged to the rotation that almost took over the game. His fourth-quarter stint was undoubtedly what you could expect of his best-case-scenario development as a prospect: fueled by his own actions, he was able to produce in transitions and fastbreaks with above-average physicality and athleticism for a European wing, scored a couple of big shots and drove aggressively. On the defensive end, while he still showed some tactical issues, he did a solid job on Zacharie Risacher through off-screen situations and put effort into rotating and contesting. Most of those things are still a work in progress, and he’ll go through ups and downs to put it all together consistently, but he has some unique and valuable skills that are pretty encouraging for the future. In these clips, we also see he has the potential to get past his opponents off the dribble, which demonstrates he'll eventually be able to translate what he did in the youth competitions.

Thinking about the foreseeable future, Dadiet’s case is fascinating. On the one hand, he is the kind of player who’s worth taking a swing on. The 2023/24 season will be good for him to get used to professional basketball in every aspect of it, and Ulm’s development path assures he’ll be a way better player by June. However, at this point, it is more about trusting his potential than relying on tangible things he’s done consistently. On the other hand, there are many reasons to be optimistic about him being a breakout player whenever he puts it all together -could be by the second part of the current season or, most likely, in the next one-. With what he’s doing right now, he’s already worthy of being considered a draftable player. When it all clicks, there are plenty of reasons to believe he’ll occupy a really high place on the boards. Just a matter of time.