Scouting Malcolm Cazalon

Name: Malcolm Cazalon

Born: August 27, 2001

Nationality: France

Team: KK Mega (Serbia)

Height: 6’6’’

Wingspan: 6’10’’

Standing reach: 8’7’’

Weight: 190 lbs.

Position: SG/PG

Background

Malcolm Cazalon was born on August 27, 2001, in Roanne, France. He started to play basketball at the age of three. His father, Laurent Cazalon, was a former basketball player who played for Roanne. Malcolm’s stepfather, Stephane Dondon, was a former basketball player who played for Chalon and Cholet. Malcolm’s older stepbrother, Marvin Sarkis, is a basketball player plays in the Dynamo Club in Lebanon after he started his career in France.

Malcolm Cazalon signed with Comsport when he was 15-year-old. Cazalon left his first team, Roanne, and joined ASVEL’s youth academy. He left ASVEL after the 2018-2019 season ended and signed with JL Bourg-en Bresse. He made his Jeep Elite debut there but after a year, he left Bourg too. He signed a contract with Stella Leuven Bears in 2019. At the same time, he left Comsport and signed to BeoBasket. Cazalon joined KK Mega Bemax (the team of BeoBasket) in the summer of 2020. 

Medical History

Suffered a leg injury three times throughout his career. 2017, 2019, and 2020. 

Outcomes

High: Secondary playmaker who can drive to the basket, score a bunch of points in transition, make advanced reads, and turn those reads to reality with two-handed strong passes. Fit for off the ball motions as a secondary initiator. Shows outlier athleticism in transition and when the defense makes a rotation mistake. Intense defender off the ball who can use size and frame to close the offense’s angles. 
Mid: Decent scorer off the dribble. Spot-up shooter. Gravity playmaker who can see the court and make a pass. Sometimes can be very inactive on off the ball motions; stays in his zone too much, should be more active by cutting to the weak-side to create space but occasionally loses his focus. It can be easy to dislodge him in live-dribble situations if the ballhandler has advanced dribble moves. 
Low: Transition scorer and perimeter defender who has good length for his position and makes some flashy passes. 

Swing factors

Shooting, right hand finishing and driving to the right, offensive awareness, defensive motor, and adding strength. 

Physical

Malcolm Cazalon has good size and frame for a shooting guard. He has long and strong arms with plenty of room to add muscle. His hand sensitivity is impressive, but movement in his wrists is purely mechanical and not natural, which prevents him from having a soft touch around the rim and flexibility in his final touch in the air. He has good torso flexibility but his lack of strength hurts his face-to-face offense and defense. It’s one of the reasons why Cazalon struggles to finish in traffic. However, if there is a rotation mistake on defense or he is in transition, his torso flexibility and core strength make him a perfect scorer.

The French native has impressive hip mobility that allows him to use ICE defense against the pick-and-roll. He can shift his hips quickly to chase the ballhandler. He has some problems with his knees. While he shooting the ball, his right knee (almost) always goes up first. However, Cazalon takes his main strength from that knee. He also has some issues with bending and aligning on his knees. He isn’t an explosive vertical athlete who offs one foot and two. He is very explosive but just in open court offenses. I think he is a smooth athlete, not explosive. Because he does a good job while he dribbles to his left with the ball in his hands. Shows his fluidity in those types of positions. He is very quick in the north-south direction, and also does a good job to move laterally to hold his man on the defensive end.

Offense

Malcolm Cazalon is exclusively a scorer in transition situations. What makes him an *exclusive* scorer in transition is his quickness and ability to absorb the contact (he doesn’t have a strong upper body but can absorb contact in fast-paced situations) while going to the basket.

Playing as a secondary ballhandler, he uses a lot of stagger or zipper before taking the ball, Cazalon does a good job of driving to the basket if the defense makes mistakes on rotating. He usually attacks the defense’s hip, pushes him with his forearm, and goes to the basket. However, he doesn’t get into the lane as often as you would like but doesn’t avoid attacking, and also, his team, Mega, usually plays two big men.

He is an aggressive and a smooth driver overall but doesn’t have a really good touch. He is not good with up-and-under layups, or tear-drop. However, he excels at finishing possessions using the glass. Has good execution if he used the glass. His wide wingspan helps him here. Cazalon doesn’t have an elite first step but solid. He can’t create an advantage with the ball in his hands to force the defense but he can exploit the defense around wings due to quickness, smooth athleticism, and aggressiveness. Also, utilizes his core strength while slashing from wings. 

My biggest concern about Cazalon’s ability to get into the lane is he never drives to his right and can’t finish with his right hand. So, it is very predictable where he will drives and could be easy to defend his slashing. He usually comes from the left baseline by using a down-screen, takes the ball on top of the key, and attacks to his left. He very rarely attacks to his right.

Cazalon is an underrated passer. His stats-sheets don’t give a good signal about his passing but from the eye-test, I think he is very good. He can make various types of passes. What he is best as a passer is driving to his left, drawing the defense, jumping, and gives a strong two-handed pass to the weak-side. Also, he can make one hand curl and skip passes. I can’t define him as a facilitator but it is good that he can use his gravity effect to make a pass.

As a ballhandler, he can be too careless. He protects the ball but usually doesn’t look at the defender’s moves. He usually looks under the basket while he bounces the ball. So if the defender is smart and has hand-eye quickness, he can steal the ball from Cazalon easily. He is a solid ballhandler while slashing, uses his body as a shield but he has to be aware of low-paced situations.

Cazalon has below average game instincts, and change of tempo ability (but he has shown flashes of good changing speed and direction). Those three assets limit his pick-and-roll offense very much. If the opposing team tries to stop the PnR with blitz defense, Cazalon can back a few steps and make good passes with his left hand towards the roller, but he can’t make those passes with his right hand. When the opposing team does normal PnR defense, he has difficulty in showing creativity and adding fluidity to his team.

For Cazalon, shooting is one of the problems he has throughout his career. Although he is developing as a spot-up shooter, it is still difficult to define the French player as a dangerous shooter. After one-two dribbles, he can create his shot in the mid-range, he can sometimes get hot from corners as a catch-and-shooter, but some problems in his shot form will limit him.

First of all, Cazalon has a habit of adjusting the left part of his body towards the rim before shooting, which takes a lot of time on some quick shooting opportunities. He pulls his off-hand very early and gives all the power with his shooting hand. The alignment of the knees and bending of the hip are inconsistent. He should quick as a shooter. Although his release makes it difficult to block his shot, Cazalon allows the defender to capture momentum because he spends too much time to adjust his shooting mechanics. He is not a system-broker on off the ball motions but sometimes watches the game too much and waits his zone when he should cutting to the other wing/corner to create spacing for his team. When he gives himself to the game with full effort, he excels to make money by cutting the backdoor.

Defense

Malcolm Cazalon is a very technical defender. It is both good and bad. His defensive techniques make him a solid defensive player. It is hard to fool him easily when closing out and doesn’t have a hard time reacting to quick first steps. He is always ready to move, gets out fully to his man with high hands, quick and long strides to close out. If the ballhandler attacks from the closeout to the basket, Cazalon pushes him with his baseline hand and raises his other hand to limit the ballhandler’s stop jump shot or long floater/layup chances. He has smart positioning knowledge at off the ball motions. He usually doesn’t give long space to his man. However, he sometimes focuses on the strong side. He doesn’t leave his man in his zone but his lack of anticipation doesn’t allow him to handle the two sides. Cazalon can’t anticipate where the ballhandler is going. So, if he goes to help to beat him to the spot, the ballhandler will have an easy angle to make drive-and-kick to Cazalon’s man. 

He knows how to use his impressive wingspan and length to create intensity on his stance and this makes him an elite off the ball defender. However, the lack of strength hurts his one-and-one defense. Cazalon shows stance mobility and knowledge against physical guards and forwards but it is easy to dislodge for a ballhandler who possesses advanced dribble moves and quickness or just has a strong upper body frame because Cazalon can’t absorb the ballhandler’s moves with his torso. Cazalon’s defensive motor and awareness are inconsistent; sometimes hot, sometimes cold. He isn’t a defensive playmaker but his physical tools make him a good perimeter defender. However, his defensive motor can be off, misses rotations, digs, stunts, etc. Occasionally, he shows good flashes of paying attention to the strong-side action when defending off the ball but as I mentioned above, inconsistent. He does a good job of talking with his teammates to shows them defensive geometry. 

Malcolm Cazalon’s length makes him a positional defender but again, his lack of strength and defensive IQ and motor doesn’t allow him to be a positional defender. He usually blitzes in the pick-and-roll situations. He does a good job to shift his hips to the screener and slides around the ballhandler’s dribble penetration to covers his angle. When the ballhandler rejects the screen, Cazalon’s PnR defense drops. He is really quick in transition defense. Turns to his court quickly and tries to contest the offense’s position.

Overall

Malcolm Cazalon is a gamble pick, in my opinion, because his shooting doesn’t give any good projection. He loses his awareness on both sides of the court. However, there are some assets that he has to be an NBA player. First of all, his quickness in the fast-paced game makes him a player who the NBA is looking for. He can score in transition easily. Also, he is a secondary initiator but it shouldn’t be forgotten that his dribble penetration could be very predictable at the NBA level. He does a good job as a gravity passer, which is a clear plus. Defensively, he possesses good technical skills. He shows solid performances but lacks natural defense. Physically, Cazalon’s length makes him an NBA player. He could be a positional player but strength could be a huge issue. When I am thinking of this year’s international class, I can’t see a good spot for Cazalon, even as a draft-and-stash player. However, he will have more minutes in Mega Bemax next year. Filip Petrušev and Marko Simonović won’t stay with Mega. In this case, Cazalon might be better in terms of coming with consistent efficiency to the table. So, picking him is a gamble for now in my opinion. He hasn’t had a major role in the major league yet and all those minuses offensively and defensively create question marks in my mind. If he can add consistent shooting and better game awareness next year, he probably will be a good option from early second-round but again, gamble always will be on the table.

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