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Bilal Coulibaly stands by bold claim about Pacers' Pascal Siakam

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Bilal Coulibaly turned heads with his play during his rookie season with the Wizards. The 19-year-old is now turning heads with a bold take about a two-time NBA All-Star.

In late April, Coulibaly told French outlet RMC Sport that Pacers forward Pascal Siakam was one of the NBA’s more overrated players. Weeks later, Coulibaly was given an opportunity to clear things up during an appearance on FanDuel TV’s “Run It Back.

He didn’t fully double down but Coulibaly didn’t exactly deny what he said, either.

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“I stand by that,” Coulibaly said when asked about his answer.

“They were asking me who was the easiest superstar to guard and I was like, ‘Pascal’,” Coulibaly later clarified. “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.”

Coulibaly’s words and explanation can be construed as disrespectful as he leans into the narrative that Siakam’s offensive game is mostly limited to drives and spin moves. On the same token, Coulibaly’s answer would mean that he considers Siakam a superstar, the ultimate sign of respect.

Put plainly, “the easiest superstar to guard” in the NBA is still a superstar in the world’s best league.

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As unsuccessful of a season as it was for the 15-67 Wizards, Coulibaly was one of the few bright spots, showing true All-Defensive potential while averaging 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds over 63 games.

Coulibaly might want to reconsider his words as Siakam found great success against the Wizards during the 2023-24 season. While still a member of the Raptors, Siakam posted averages of 30.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 9.0 assists over two games against Coulibaly and company.

According to NBA.com’s matchup data, Coulibaly spent 22.2 partial possessions guarding Siakam this season. Siakam scored seven points, five of which came from the charity stripe after drawing three fouls.

Whether or not Coulibaly’s words have made it to Siakam is unknown. The two-time All-Star is busy looking to lead Indiana back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in a decade.

Regardless of how the season ends for the Pacers, you’ll want to circle the next first matchup between Coulibaly and Siakam in 2024-25.

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