Ousmane Dieng could be the home run pick Sam Presti is swinging for outside of the top ten.
The 6-foot-10 wing is one of the youngest players in the 2022 NBA Draft and has endless room to grow over the next few seasons. Last season with the New Zealand Breakers, Dieng averaged 8.9 points and 3.2 rebounds at just 18 years old.
If it weren’t for his early season shooting woes, Dieng would almost certainly be a top ten pick. Because of his heigh and point-forward abilities, teams will still take the risk instead of being scared away by percentages. He took 4.2 threes per contest, converting at just a 27.1% rate. Playing professionally at 18 years old, though, he could be just scratching the surface.
Dieng has also been recognized for his impressive passing. He does plenty of work with the ball in his hands displaying incredible vision for his size. Dieng’s potential on the offensive end is easily his most attractive attribute.
His shooting mechanics are solid and his midrange game is enticing. His size allows him to back smaller wings and guards down to shoot over them. Because the defense has to respect his midrange, he’s able to get to the rim with his length. With a 7-foot wingspan, he has long strides and solid body control to score around the rim.
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With his length, he has all the tools to become an elite defender. He showed many flashes on the defensive end, but struggled to find consistency every game. When he’s switched onto smaller players, he’s able to keep them in check with his quick instincts and long arms. As his frame continues to fill out, his defense will continue to improve.
Ultimately, Dieng fell down draft boards after his early season shooting slump and is quietly making his way back up after a strong finish. Over the last 12 games of the season, including three playoff games, he averaged 13.3 points per game while shooting 33% from 3-point range. He scored 18 points or more in three of the team’s last five.
Multiple NBA teams have found success taking youngsters from the NBL, and Dieng could be the latest star from the overseas pipeline. If he’s still available at No. 12, he’d be a strong candidate for Oklahoma City’s second lottery pick.