Dwane Casey 'Very Concerned' About Sekou Doumbouya

It's been a rough few weeks for the rookie.

97.1 The Ticket
February 11, 2020 - 12:49 pm
Sekou

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It was never going to be easy for Sekou Doumbouya as a 19-year-old rookie, the youngest player in the NBA. Slumps like the one he's in now were to be expected. 

Since that scoring eight-game start in January, Doumbouya is averaging just 5.5 points while shooting 28 percent from the field and 24 percent from three. The first-round pick has looked his age. 

If production was the only problem, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey would probably be fine. But Casey admitted after Monday night's loss to the Hornets in which Doumbouya scored four points in 19 minutes of action that the troubles go deeper than that. 

"I'm very concerned with Sekou," Casey said. "I'm very concerned, in the fact that he's a young kid, his outlook, his demeanor. He should be having the most fun of anybody, have all the girls, fun, whatever you want to do -- everything. I mean, enjoy life, play basketball. You’re playing in the NBA, have fun.

"That’s the thing that bothers me. The intensity, the effort has to come from our young guys and he’s one of the young guys.”

It's probably not a surprise that Doumbouya looks discouraged. For a minute there, he may have thought he had the NBA figured out. In time that feeling will return. But the past few weeks have been rough, including a benching in a home loss to Toronto.

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Again, it's not the struggles that have Casey concerned. It's the way Doumbouya has reacted to them. 

“You’re going to make mistakes as a young player, but lack of intensity shouldn’t be one of them,” Casey said. “Lack of passion, the joy of playing, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I know there is a culture barrier, but he has to continue to play hard, play with passion.

"Take advantage of the opportunity, because it’s fleeting.”

The culture barrier shouldn't be overlooked. Born in Guinea and raised in France, Doumbouya came to the United States as an 18-year-old who knew little English. He's still adjusting to his new life. 

And he's still adjusting to the NBA. While he played professionally for a couple years in Europe, it doesn't compare to the league he's in now. This is a challenge of an entirely new order, and Doumbouya is taking his lumps. 

If he can embrace that part of the process, it should make the rest of it easier.