Melvin Ajinca Season Debut for Saint-Quentin vs Metropolitans 92


In his first game of the French regular season with Saint-Quentin, Melvin Ajinca had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals with 1 turnover on 3/6 shooting. In this game, he showcased spot-up shooting and strong off-ball defense. This was Ajinca’s first game since a strong summer with the French U19 team.

Offensively, he was careful and smart, playing within his role as a spot-up shooter, usually the 5th option and being sentenced to the corner the same way NBA rookies often are. While his role was simple as an off-ball player, he still thrived as a shooter. With somewhat funky form, he still repeats it and has good shooting touch. More reps should go a long way, as he can be affected by closeouts too easily at times, being noticeably bothered when in the air already going up for a shot.

Defensively, Ajinca showed strong off-ball defensive capabilities. His defensive role was minimal, but he rotated into the holes well, quickly and safely identifying the next play while safely being able to move off of his man. While there may not have been any one play that stands out as a lockdown possession, his attentiveness makes him an effective off-ball defender. Some examples:

Offensively, these are the videos of plays that stood out to me, in order. The plays are an assist with a strong two-man game out of a hand-off give & go, as well as two 3 point makes.

Overall, Melvin Ajinca did a good job adapting to a more minimized role than what he had in the FIBA U19 with France this summer. He picked up where he left off with efficient play, intelligent defense, and making the most of what is given to him. Look for Ajinca to be a key part of a strong international class in the 2024 NBA Draft.