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Draft 2024 | Presentation of Tidjane Salaün (Cholet Basket)

The Cholet Basket training center has struck again. Arrived in the Mauges during his studies after a false start within the Federal Center, Tidjane Salaün only needed one season among the professionals to intrigue recruiters. CB's “forward” is now expected in the first round in a vintage that promises to be historic for French basketball with Alexandre Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher expected in the heights.

Like Bilal Coulibaly a year earlier, Tidjane Salaün will therefore take the plunge from Espoirs to the NBA in barely a year. Cholet sensed the vein and hatched his nugget by granting him playing time – and even a starting place – from his debut in the deep end. Logically still technically quite green, the little brother of the French international Janelle showed that he was not afraid, and that he was ready to work to prove it. More of a position 3 for hopefuls, CB's lack of rotation inside has accelerated his development into a modern power forward role.

It is in this profile that Tidjane Salaün is now heading to the NBA. While he will only turn 19 in August, the Choletais is still more of a prospect than a player from whom we can expect an immediate impact. But the speed at which he seems capable of developing his game, evidenced by his very good end to the season, particularly in the playoffs against Paristhe future prospects are real.


Job : Power forward/winger
Size : 2m05
Weight : 98 kg
Team : Cholet Basketball
Stats 2023/24: 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists in 23 minutes

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Strong points

– An “NBA ready” body. 2m05 without shoes, a few kilos of mass added over the course of the season, a wingspan (2m17) and solid relaxation… Tidjane Salaün will have no trouble alternating on the wings, offensively and defensively. His mobility is very interesting for his size. While not a tank, his upper body is wider than it appears.

– The game without a ball. He was not content to wait in the corners of La Meilleraie, even though he was at the end of the system. Often well placed, lively in his movements towards the circle, his alley-oop flights have become a real weapon in his game. Called upon to have the same responsibilities across the Atlantic, his baseline cuts or from the edge of the racket can give him easy points.

– Room for progress. With only one high-level season, Tidjane Salaün has a sometimes raw game but a fairly wide range. If he relies a lot on his inconsistent long shot, his 36% from 3-point catch-and-shoot is a solid base once his shot selection is more refined. The collective experience on defensive rotations and the specific work linked to his change of position (presence on the rebound, finishing) should allow him to quickly turn a corner after the first flashes seen in Betclic Elite and in the Champions League this season.

Weak points

– Creation. If his physique makes him dangerous in transition play, he struggles more on half court. Little used with the ball in hand, Tidjane Salaün lacks fundamentals in holding the ball, or in the ability to find his own scoring opportunities. It remains to be seen what he could bring to the pass in a context other than Cholet, where he was a fifth option.

– Circle protection. If he is to be shifted full-time to position 4 in the NBA, or even as the pivot of a “small ball” team as his size could allow him, Tidjane Salaün will have to expand a little as he is suffering at the moment on the low station contacts. He can also do much better on the counter (0.9% counter per defensive possession in Betclic Elite), especially with his arm length.


Not very far physically from a Jeremy Grant, he could also get closer by establishing himself as a 3&D before expanding his range over the course of his career. His good athletic qualities and his ability to offer solutions without the ball can also see him evolve in the furrow of a Aaron Gordon.


Second part of the lottery, between 8th and 14th place… Unless a team higher up is ready for a “reach”, as the Pistons (5th), Blazers (7th) and Spurs (8th) have called him for a try. Tidjane Salaün could be heading towards a first season of learning to shape his game, like Ousmane Dieng at OKC since 2022.

Credit: FIBA

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