“I’m ready to try to win my place in the France national team,” Maldon insists.

The young (20-year-old) leader of Oklahoma City, for Le Figaro and two other media, returns in his second season in the NBA and conjures up the France team, a year after he declined the Olympic selection.

Theo Maldion is fine, thank you. After a promising season in the NBA, the former Asvel player had a complicated start in 2021-22. Too complicated, without playing time and even with the transition to G-League. However, he finished the season with a thunderclap. This bodes well for the future and for the French team, which was rejected by the OKC playmaker last summer but is a candidate for it this summer. Maldion, 20, answered questions from figarobut also RMC Sports And the newspaper Paris This Wednesday, during a small video gathering.

The results of this second season in the NBA : “It was a season full of ups and downs, it was a little more complicated than the first season but somehow I think it served me a lot as well. I have faced adversity, and in my opinion have been able to do well. It will help me in the future. (…) I know I’m a basketball player, I’ve proven that I can play in this league. It doesn’t matter what people think, to me, that’s what matters.»

My end of the season shows that I haven’t given up anything, it will help me a lot in the future

Theo Malidon

Complex start to the season, transition to G-League : “At that time, you’re asking yourself a lot of questions, asking yourself, wondering what’s going on… you’re trying to get out of it. With the help of my family, teammates, coaches, and organization, they made me understand that everyone is going through this and that what matters is how you react. I’ve always tried to keep our composure and continue to be as professional as possible, not to see my G League as a penalty but instead as a goal to be achieved and a chance to prove a comeback. What does he say about me and the player I am? Many things. My end of the season shows that I haven’t given up anything. I think it will help me a lot in the future because again, a career consists of ups and downs, but what matters is how you react.»

A pivotal third season : “Any NBA season is really pivotal… We’re in a competitive league so we have to take every opportunity.»

Watch the qualifiers from afar : “Of course, from a distance, it’s not easy… You tell yourself that other teams play in the playoffs, and they have a chance to win the title… Every basketball player aims to win the title. So it’s not easy being on the side, just watching…but on the other hand, it’s a chance to work on myself and become better towards that goal.»

Oklahoma City and Progress Framework : “The NBA in general is a league that is very focused on players, and you see that a lot of players have a lot of strength. It’s something that is really highlighted there. Then, from what I know from speaking with some of my teammates who have a lot more experience than me, the word that comes out the most is that it’s really a respectable franchise in the sense that it’s very organized and that puts a lot of emphasis on player development.»

Every mistake is paid in cash in the NBA, pressure : “You have to ignore it and I think I learned that this season. You can’t focus on your mistakes, otherwise you just sink in once you make them. On the contrary, you should try to go to the next procedure, and always reset the counters to zero every time you enter the field. Every day presents a new opportunity and that’s what matters in the NBA.»

Points to improve and those for which he advanced for two years in the NBA : “If we’re talking about this summer, one of the things I have to work on is to be able to deliver what is required of me, to be effective in the role I’m going to be entrusted with, and to always be able to put in the shots. Because it changes everything and the ability to defend in several positions. We see it in the playoffs, it’s very important, given the number of teams that change on all screens, the players who can shoot and who stay on the field… Those are two big axes that I will focus on working on this summer. For the rest, I’ve made progress in many aspects over the past two years. Mentally and physically… There isn’t a single area where I think I’ve slipped. I think I’ve been better every year and I plan to continue that.»

French national team : “I talked about it with Boris (Diao) when he came to Oklahoma City. I told him I was ready to try to win my place in the France team, and that was something that was always close to my heart. I already said that last year, even if I skip (at the Olympics), it wouldn’t be a regular thing. After talking about it with OKC and the staff there, it’s good to go.»

I would have liked to play for France and compete in the Olympics, but…

Theo Malidon

Sorry for facing the Blues last summer : “It was a step I had to climb. In the end, OKC is still my business and I still have to listen to what they have to say, and what they want for my development. But of course I would have liked to play for the France team and compete in the Olympics. On the other hand, you cannot change the past. I’m happy for the guys, they really did the job, they brought back the (silver) medal. It makes me want to do the same as soon as I have the chance to play for the France team.»

I’m still a fan of the other NBA players…or not : “The difference between my first and second year is mostly the fans. It creates a different atmosphere… and that’s when I realized that the stars in this league play at home in every game. When Stephen Curry or LeBron James played in Oklahoma City, we had the impression that we were playing outside because they were admired by the fans (smile). I don’t think I look at anyone like that though. I think this happened to me in my first pre-season game in my freshman year, I was like, “I’m really an NBA player, and I’m in the midst of it.” But then, I moved quickly.»

Galgos Alexander tea : “The future of all-stars? I think it hasn’t been that far in the last couple of years. He was always in this discussion during the two years I was there. Then, maybe our record didn’t give him an edge…but he really has everything to become one and I think he will become one.»

The end of the qualifiers and the future champion : “I do not know ! These qualifiers have been very exciting so far. Next, we should see if there are any injuries. There are so many parameters to consider that naming the team would be a bit crazy. But I think Golden State… I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win this year.»

The NBA is another world

Theo Malidon

The most surprising in his eyes in the NBA : “The NBA is another world…there are many things abroad that are different from France…I would say the depth of the difference. There is no player that we can say does not belong here. Each player can truly contribute to the team. After that, it depends on the opportunity we have.»

His connections to his former boss in Asvel, Tony Parker : “When we played in San Antonio, he was there and I went to eat with him. We’re always in contact that I haven’t seen since the game in San Antonio but we text a lot.»

His long-term goals : “Win as many titles as possible. There is no better dedication than that. To experience it with Asvel, the year before the draft, there is no better feeling in the world. As a competitor, you always want to prove to be on top and win.»

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