Wizards fans rejoice: Bilal Coulibaly is here. The rookie continues to be the brightest spot for the 3-17 Washington Wizards. In the 131-126 home loss against the Philadelphia 76ers last night, the 19-year-old rookie showed flashes of a future star. Finishing the game with 14 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals on 6/10 shooting from the field in 28 minutes, Coulibaly added plenty of clips to his highlight reel.
One thing we know about Coulibaly now is that he isn’t scared of the moment. He plays hard and with intensity, regardless of who he is playing against. He demonstrated that with this steal and slam against the reigning MVP Joel Embiid in the first quarter.
Somehow, that wasn’t even the most impressive defensive play of the game for Coulibaly. In the second quarter, he displayed his defensive awareness and length to intercept a bounce pass from Patrick Beverley. He then took it coast-to-coast for a dunk, using his elite acceleration to beat Robert Covington and Kelly Oubre Jr. off-the-dribble.
However, Coulibaly’s signature moment against the Sixers came in the second half. Coulibaly brought the ball up against Paul Reed, who has quick feet and mobility for a big man. Yet, the rookie blew past him, and despite Reed’s recovery, dunked all over him.
This was certainly the best play of Coulibaly’s young career. This created a frenzy on social media, putting Coulibaly on the map for the national audience.
When asked about it by the Hoops District, Coulibaly agreed that it was the best dunk of his NBA career, adding “That was a good one. I saw his feet were not in a position to play good defense. So I got to drive it. I was wide open so I said yeah I’ll dunk it.”
Wizards fans have been seeing how special the rookie is all season. He is certainly ahead of schedule, being able to score with impressive efficiency, on top of high-level defensive play. If he continues this performance, along with his highlight reel-worthy plays, Coulibaly will help create much-needed buzz for the Washington Wizards. It will certainly aid his case for the All-Rookie teams come the end of the season, as well.