Olivier-Maxence Prosper: 2023 NBA Draft Scouting Report
The big winner from the combine, Prosper rejuvenates the debate between drafting high-upside players or scalable, already-proven role players
Coming out of the 2023 NBA Draft Combine, Olivier-Maxence Prosper (known as O-Max) was one of the biggest stock risers. He played exceptionally well in the first scrimmage, to the point where he removed himself from playing the second day and worked to solidify himself as a first-round talent.
Prosper is coming off a great season with the Marquette Golden Eagles, averaging 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 51/34/73. The stats don’t tell the story, though. Prosper was the team’s fourth option on offense, playing nearly 30 minutes a night to be their frontcourt defensive stopper. A great deal of his offense came in transition or in effort plays.
But Prosper was arguably as valuable to anyone on that Golden Eagles team despite being a fringe threat on offense. He fit like a glove in their switching defense, utilizing his athleticism and 7’1” wingspan to bother different styles of players. Prosper would also take on the top defensive assignment and not switch at times. In the talented Big East, Prosper’s versatility allowed Marquette to tailor their defensive gameplans to their opponents.
In the NBA, O-Max hopes to fill that same type of role. He’s more than capable of doing so, and the proof we’ve already gathered from the past season at Marquette makes him one of the most translatable defenders to the league.
There are almost two conversations to have with a guy like Prosper. The first is figuring out how effective of a player he is. Can he make an impact in the modern NBA? Does he have glaring weaknesses on either side of the ball? Are there worries about him staying on the floor in a playoff series? Will anything he showed at Marquette not translate to the NBA?
Shaka Smart utilized Prosper in the exact way that answers several of those questions for NBA scouts. Go back and look at the tape from Prosper and you’ll see what many questionable-shooting wings and defensive specialists do on a pro floor. There doesn’t need to be much imagination ahead for how O-Max will make his impact, just work done to siphon out whether he will continue to make that impact.
The second conversation to have with O-Max is to figure out just how to value a role player with a role player ceiling in comparison to other high-upside players in this class. Prosper has already shown what he does as a fourth or fifth option during his college career. He already knows how to play off-ball and best blend his skills in with more ball-dominant guys. In short, his game is already scalable.
There’s a legitimate philosophical discussion to be had about whether high-ceiling offensive pieces are to be taken ahead of these role players. Recent history does give us an indication of where NBA teams fall on the continuum, and that could bode well for a player like Prosper on draft night.