Team: Limoges (France)
DOB: March 11, 2003 (17 years old)
Position: Small Forward, Power Forward as a stretch
NBA ceiling: Late rotation as a three-and-d player
Pro ceiling: Mid pro-level starter or main rotation player
Offensive roles: Micro scorer, off the ball player, decent shooter.
Defensive role: All-around defender on his age group. Understands angles plus help side-defensive concepts really well.
Height w/o shoes: 6′ 7″
Height w/ shoes: 6′ 8″
Weight: 185 lbs.
Hand length: 8.5″
Wingspan: 6′ 10″
Some notable prospects have been coming from Asia over the past few years that have had an average NBA ceiling. Especially in the classes of 2002, 2003 and 2004, there are several players who are interesting, and I think Yousef Khayat is one of those names.
Khayat was born on March 11, 2003, in Lebanon. His first sport was football and he also played cricket for a while. But his family moved into a house near the basketball court when Yousef was nine years old. This is when Khayat started playing basketball, he grew much taller from the age of 9 to 12 years old. After all these things, Khayat decided to become a professional in basketball with the support of his family. U16 Asia Championship was a turning point for Khayat. He averaged 8.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 turnovers, 0.6 blocks while shooting 40% from the court in 9.3 FGA.
His stat-sheet was not fascinating, but he’s a glue guy with great leadership and high game awareness which makes him an important prospect. After that tournament, he participated in NBA Academy games. In that tournament, he played in six games and averaged 5.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.8 blocks while shooting 8/23 from the court and 5/12 behind the 3-point line.
Yousef Khayat signed with Limoges last year, competing in the LNB Espoirs (youth) league. He played in only nine games at Limoges, but YK showed a great improvement in the games he played. He started in three of his nine appearances and was a main rotation player in the other six.
He finished last season with 62 points, 10 assists, 18 rebounds, three steals, four blocks, 13 PFs, 11 TOs, shooting 7/23 from 3 and 27/70 from the field.
Physical Tools, Approach and Athleticism
Medical history: N/A
Standing 6-foot-8 shoes on with needs improvement 185-pound frame and +2 wingspan, Khayat has nice length and frame. Has good, wide shoulders with good muscle mass, long but lacks strength in his arms, hollow chests, strong core muscles and nice back length. Lower body, quick, very quick footwork, nice laterally and linearly but needs work vertically. His vertical pop comes and goes according to the situation, he shows some flashes and can get up for highlight dunks occasionally, but he lacks the elite, consistent vertical pop to be a complete threat as a finisher. Lower body needs work, despite his legs looking somewhat strong.
In my opinion, Khayat’s body length is good. 6’8” is really good height for all 17-year-old basketball prospects in the world. However, I think he has a lof of room to grow. The kid has put in the work in the weight room, there’s no doubt about that but I’m really happy about his physical tools right now.
Because Khayat worked hard in less than a year to earn his current tools. He made a lot of effort. This effort was demonstrating even in a less historic basketball country, such as Lebanon before he signed with Limoges. In a club that places emphasis on the development of prospects’ GYMs like Limoges, Khayat can be much better. Also, since he is not a consistent player in the senior team yet, he will be able to focus on improvement without dealing with things like travel, busy off the court things, which is very nice.
Mental Fight and Awareness
His coaches describe him as a tenacious and hard-working player who is unselfish on the court and has a sense of teamwork. He brings a lot of energy and knows how to use it especially on the offensive end. On tape, he shows a high-level of awareness and activity on the court, accepting multiple roles and challenges both on the offensive and the defensive end. Currently, the lack of experience is his minus in this regard, as the level of competition for Khayat’s matches in FIBA and Limoges was not very high. If his mind set remains consistent against a higher level of competition over an extended period of time, he will be a player that every team in Europe will want, despite some cons on his skill-set.
There is nothing elite that Yousef Khayat does on the offensive end – showed some flashes as a cutter and shooter but I have some question marks. I mean, he’s not a great shooter or a great finisher. He does good things to increase the efficiency of his primary scorers on his team. He does this not with great assist averages or a lot of crafty stuff, but with his movement on the court. That’s why off the ball motions are my favorite thing about his offensive package.
A great cutter (slips, backdoor cuts, runner after the second screener on the stagger, etc.), showing great offensive awareness, he knows how to space the court and often finishes aggressively above the rim. Khayat does not crash the glass but runs hard all the time and pushes the pace in transition.
So, he is a great runner on the open court and can finish if given space. Also, if he feels involved, Khayat will always find a way to get to the ball and be a part of what’s going on on the court. It’s not about awareness.
Finishing: Solid touch, strong first step and pretty hop-step before his layups. Khayat can finish possessions with floaters and against contact with his right hand. However, he is inconsistent. Needs some work on his touch in traffic despite showing some flashes. He can use his length well against his man on finishes despite not being a glass scorer. Lack of athleticism limits his finishing skills.
Shooting, okay, this is the huge half good-half bad situation. Yousef Khayat is a very bad free throw shooter. In non-static, not-run shots, problems such as the rigidity of his shooting mechanics and unbalanced elevation are more evident. So I think he has a lot of work to be a good FT and catch-and-shoot player.
However, Khayat showed a lot of good things as a mid-range and 3-point creator. I don’t say that he is a clearly dangerous self-shooting creator but has this potential. He dribbles the ball well, makes quick and true decisions, setting his footwork and fire with solid, stiff, weird mechanics but it’s working when he uses it on movement shots.
Do I buy his shot at the end of the day? Yes. But he needs to work on these things: Two-dribble jumper, FTs, spot-up 3-points and CnS. And he has to have consistent shooting form.
Average passing and handling skill-set. I don’t think he is a crafty or shifty passer/handler. His ballhandling is defensive, he creates a shield with his body to protect the ball. Also, he limited his turnovers well year-by-year. Nice job using hesitations and in-and-outs to set up drives and likes going to spins. However, he shouldn’t be tasked with the primary creation load because he is not a crafty player. Also, he needs a lot of work on his ballhandling in tight spaces when attacking the closeout.
As a passer, he showed some no-look, pocket, coast-to-coast and drive-and-dish things but overall, classical read-and-react passer. He sees things and reacts with passes. Reliable but that’s it. Just a system passer on the half-court. Needs work on here.
Needs a ton of work on his one-on-one scoring skill-set. I would like to see him more effective as a handler on pick-and-roll situations. He showed some things as a roller in creating spacing for others, but he didn’t show anything as a rolling scorer either. No post-up scoring or an effective face-up weapon.
Defense is ahead of his offense right now. He is a versatile defender, can guard multiple positions. He processes the game and understands help-side defensive concepts really well.
YK has good physical tools to be able to have a meaningful impact as a defender despite lack of ideal strength. At the NBA Academy Games, he guarded 6-foot-10 power forward, 6-foot-7 small forward, 6-foot-9 small forwards, 6-foot-11 center (six mismatches) and 6-foot-8 small forwards and he just gave let 28 points in six games, this is crazy.
On the ball defense, Khayat is an energetic, high-level engine defender who does not make a lot of mistakes but also knows when and how to make his own moves against the slow offense. When playing with aggression and intensity he can do a lot of the little stuff that doesn’t show on the stats sheet with using his quick hands, his lateral movement, his solid stance (nice hip rotate, knows how to react against burst/eye/body fakes thanks to his BBIQ and energy transferability from his feet to head) and his awareness. But he should be able to improve his body coordination and footwork to stay in front of quicker guards and forwards.
Khayat does a pretty nice job keeping his hands out while defending one-on-one to prevent baseline and unpredictable off the ball motion plays. Also, he can cover pick-and-roll situations well.
He’s an excellent team defender. I think he is a major defensive playmaker, he knows how to help his teammates by making perfect rotations and sliding in the right place and at the right time without making it feel too much. He does everything he can to control his own man, even in positions that seem very difficult to win. I buy Khayat’s on the ball and help defense for all levels.
Rim protection, not too much here. Showed some rotating protection using his BBIQ and motor. But he is not a major shot blocker, also, not a quick leaper. However, when YK does rotate, he does a great job standing ground and not being pushed back despite his average strong frame. His active hands, good eye-hand coordination and length make up for his lack of elite strength here.
Post up and close-out defenses are the place where he has a lot of room to grow. He showed some fight and motor defending the post up situations but he’s a bad defender here. Lack of athleticism hurts him here too much. As a close-out defender, he needs work. Very smart rotating and does a great job tagging and following but his lack of athleticism hurts him here again. This can hurt him one move after that catch. His hip turns are good but this is not enough. Also, Khayat does not have great straight-line speed.
Off the ball, his defense is almost excellent. Yousef Khayat is a player who runs around the screens well to follow his opponent with pesky style (general speed, average body coordination and game reading skill help him here). Also, he is a consistent one-on-one defender on off the ball defense. I mean, he always annoys his opponent and makes him tired by closing his angles.
As a rebounder, he can add value when he is dialed in both on the offensive end and on the defensive end.
- What can he add to his athleticism?
- Will he be consistent in his shot?
- Will he add smoothness to his shooting mechanism?
- Will he add a clear offensive weapon?
- How far will he develop as a passer?
Yousef Khayat is the sort of player that I think every team would like to see in the locker room, on the bench, and in some cases on the court, but choosing his NBA ceiling can be a gamble.
His shooting (although he shows good things as a movement shooter) and a killer offensive weapon are question marks, athleticism is a question mark in general too. If he can add an average shooting threat to his offensive arsenal and at least manage to become a fluid athlete, I think he could be a modern era SF from the bench player in the NBA. I think the only thing he has to do on the defense is to learn to add his experience year-by-year on his skill-set.