Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly, according to Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, will have to put in so much work like he did.
The Washington Wizards have been nothing short of a dumpster fire to begin the 2023-24 season. Their offense is all sorts of disjointed, better performances from Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma on Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks notwithstanding, and the defense is virtually non-existent. The environment the Wizards have at the moment may not be the most conducive in developing Bilal Coulibaly, the seventh overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft.
Despite an impressive preseason from Coulibaly, the Wizards have decided to bring him off the bench for the first 13 games of the season, including in their 142-129 loss to the Bucks. Coulibaly has had ups and downs that are characteristic for a rookie, but he has been trending up as of late, finishing Monday night with 12 points (on 5-7 shooting from the field), three rebounds, and two steals, and he finished with an impressive +4 in a 13-point loss.
Now, despite the less-than-ideal circumstances in Washington, Bilal Coulibaly definitely has the talent to be emerge as one of the more effective two-way players in the NBA. But Coulibaly, according to Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, will have to put in the work much like he did in his journey to becoming a two-time MVP and a Finals MVP.
“Just work. Work extremely hard, be coachable, there's gonna be a lot of ups and downs. Get yourself mentally ready for that. No matter what you do on the court, you fall back to who you really are in your core — a hard worker. You cannot fail,” Antetokounmpo told Bijan Todd of Monumental Sports Network after the Wizards' defeat.
I asked Giannis Antetokounmpo if he had any advice for Bilal Coulibaly.
Not only did he give some unbelievable advice, he also had some great things to say about the Wizards rookie 👀
“He wasn’t scared of the moment…the sky is gonna be the limit for him.” 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/x16YfzJjtU
— Bijan Todd (@bijan_todd) November 21, 2023
But at the moment, the Bucks star is liking what he's seeing from Bilal Coulibaly, as he sees plenty of things the rookie is doing on the court that'll be helpful for the Wizards in the future.
“If you have that kind of mindset, it's just a matter of time before you excel in your career. He had very, very good moments, he was guarding Dame, he wasn’t scared of the moment,” Antetokounmpo added. “He's like the right mindset. He plays extremely hard, helps his teammates, plays the game the right way. The more he has that attitude, eventually he's gonna get the ball more to playmake for himself. […] The sky is gonna be the limit for him.”