Spurs: Floor, middle, and ceiling player comparisons for Sidy Cissoko

San Antonio Spurs forward Sidy Cissoko at the 2023 California Classic Summer League. Cissoko was the 44th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
San Antonio Spurs forward Sidy Cissoko at the 2023 California Classic Summer League. Cissoko was the 44th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. / PATRICK T. FALLON/GettyImages
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Median Outcome: Prime James Johnson stuffed in Isaac Okoro’s body

With Cissoko's floor outcome hovering around solid two-way role player status, plotting a higher career path requires assembling a legitimate starter.

Initially, then, this particular projection could come off as puzzling, since James Johnson rarely entrenched himself as a full-time starter in his career and Isaac Okoro had to reclaim his starting spot after a rough start to the season last year. Fusing Johnson and Okoro's abilities, however, all but mitigates any holes in their respective games that has prevented them in the past from being a nightly, no-doubt starter.

To put succinctly, defense is never the question with any of these players. Okoro is a fantastic wing defender, while Johnson made a living as a versatile chaos agent on defense. Cissoko has all the physical tools to leverage his strength and versatility on that end, and should quickly establish himself as a fearless agitator in a similar vein as the aforementioned vets.

The differentiator for Cissoko could be how he acclimates as a serviceable offensive player in a halfcourt setting who is an amalgamation of what Johnson and Okoro do best with the ball.

MORE ON CISSOKO: Sidy Cissoko has the ball skills to become a mismatch nightmare for the Spurs

Johnson in Miami showcased the best shooting stretch of his career but never quite became enough of a threat to encourage hard closeouts he could attack. On the other hand, Okoro became a knockdown corner three-point shooter to earn back his starting spot, draining 42 percent per Crashing the Glass from those spots in his final 38 games.

A deterrent to Okoro making himself indispensable to his team, and what ultimately cost him minutes in the playoffs, is the lack of halfcourt offensive creation outside of the corners. Some of that could be attributed to scheme and pecking order, but Johnson's creativity has never been easily contained by those constructs. His propensity to create good offense by moving the ball, battering opponents, and doing the little things consistently found him time on the floor throughout his career.

Cissoko has similar potential to be a right place, right time king, thriving in the margins and supercharging the offense with heady ball movement. If the French youngster can just become a serviceable shooter from the corners to keep the defense honest and open up gaps for him to exploit, he'll be well on his way to carving out a regular two-way role who fits in most lineups.