Washington Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly calls out Indiana Pacers star Pascal Siakam

Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As All-Star forward Pascal Siakam battles the New York Knicks in the second round of the NBA layoffs, the Indiana Pacers star is seemingly taking shots out of nowhere from Washington Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly.

Coulibaly, the 7th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, had a fairly productive rookie season. Originally selected by the Pacers and then immediately traded to the Wizards for two second-round picks and the draft rights to Jarace Walker, the 6-foot-8 forward does not have a favorable opinion of Siakam.

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During an appearance on FanDuel TV’s Run It Back, Coulibaly stood by comments he made in an interview with the French outlet RMC Sport sport where he implied that Siakam is overrated and the easiest star player to guard in the NBA.

“I stand by that. They were asking me who was the easiest superstar to guard and I was like, ‘Pascal’, I watched the film and I knew what he was about to do. When he was going left, spinning around, going right so, yeah, he was the easiest superstar to guard.”

Washington Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly on Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam

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Coulibaly at least does have some experience preparing to watch Siakam and then facing him in the NBA. Although, the box scores don’t reflect the All-Star forward being easy to guard.

On Nov. 13, 2023, Siakam scored 39 points with 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals while shooting 65.2 percent from the field on 23 attempts. In that same game, Coulibaly had a -18 net rating with 10 points on 7 shots.

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Weeks later, on Dec. 27, Siakam scored 22 points with 11 rebounds, shooting 60 percent from the field on 15 shots. Meanwhile, Coulibaly had a -11 net rating and a 134 Defensive Rating. The Wizards rookie never faced Siakam after he was traded to Indiana.

All of this is even putting aside Coulibaly calling Siakam a superstar, a label that even the biggest fans of Siakam’s game in the NBA would certainly disagree with. Perhaps Coulibaly will develop into being a high-end NBA player, but he only made 15 starts last season for one of the worst teams in the NBA. As for how Coulibaly fared defensively, he ranked 499th in Defensive Rating (120) and 115th in Defensive Box Plus/Minus (-0.5).

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