It’s officially time to look forward to the NBA Draft for San Antonio Spurs fans. This team just won’t make it to the playoffs and so a lottery pick is in the near future. However, this week’s prospect to watch is someone who might land in the Spurs’ lap in the second round. That would be senior Virginia forward Mamadi Diakite.
The 6-foot-9, 224-pound big man has developed his game over the course of his years under coach Tony Bennett. He’s become a much better and more reliable shooter outside of the paint, showing that he could be a potential small-ball center or power forward. His stats don’t pop out at you because of Virginia’s style of play, but here they are for your viewing pleasure.
- 13.6 PPG, 1.3 BPG, 0.8 SPG, 6.6 RPG, 0.6 APG
- 47.7 FG%, 37.7 3P%, 75.7 FT%
- 103.1 ORtg, 85.5 DRtg
Diakite is still a bit limited on offense right now but has shown the ability to expand his range and game. Given a year or two in Austin, he could become a nice contributor off the bench at the next level. He has the length and size to be a solid defender, but he will need to work on getting quicker to guard the speedier power forwards out there.
While the offense is not quite where some teams might like it right now, the defense is much better in that regard. He’s a good athlete and a fantastic shot blocker and rim protector.
His lack of rebounds may be concerning, but the Cavaliers just distribute those among everyone pretty well. Diakite doesn’t get beaten on boards, his guards and other forwards just come in to collect the rebound after his boxout. So the fears of a bad rebounding big man can be put to rest.
The big man from Guinea is great off the ball and has scored a lot of points that way. His ability to finish strong at the rim will come in handy for a Spurs team that could use another fearless big man. He’s also pretty decent in the post and has gotten more buckets out of that spot this season than in seasons past.
While he has been labeled as “passive” on offense, the other way to look at it is that he can get buckets without having the ball in his hands too much. He is more than happy to be a screener, roller and rim runner, which could be just fine for a Spurs team that should have more go-to options by the time Diakite is ready to go to the big leagues.
Mamadi Diakite is undoubtedly a second-rounder because of his age and limits on offense. However, he could be a nice steal in the second round of the draft if the Spurs play their cards right.