it seems like today is the day to criticize Hamidou Diallo.
Not long after NBA executives weighed in on Diallo’s shortcomings, there are now NBA scouts taking aim at the Kentucky Wildcats guard. In an interview with SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker, several scouts weighed in on what they thought of Diallo, and it was mostly negative.
“Right now, he’s a D-League player,” said one scout, “but someone who is so interesting as a prospect that, if you have multiple first-round picks or an early second, he would be great to invest in. It just comes down to the right team having to come through — someone with a D-League team, the perfect situation, maybe a playoff team that can let him develop — otherwise, it’s probably in his best interest to come back and work on his shooting and get bigger and stronger.”
Taking a shot on a player who didn’t log a single college minute is a very risky proposition, even if it is just a late first or early second-round pick. While those selections don’t get as much hype, we have seen superstars go in that range, including Clint Capela (25th in 2014), Rudy Gobert (27th in 2013), Draymond Green (35th in 2012), Jimmy Butler (30th in 2011).
But those were all players with vast experience coming into their respective drafts. Why should NBA teams pass on proven guy who still grow more vs a complete unknown like Diallo?
It doesn’t sound like scouts are thrilled with the latter.
“He’s a crap shoot,” another scout said. “I don’t know how you pick him. He’s got to come into a workout and really dazzle you, and then maybe you pick him in the middle to bottom of the second round. But there’s just not enough of a sample size to make a good, educated decision on him.”
“Can I say he’s a sure-fire NBA player? No way.”
I personally don’t have any issue with Diallo leaving UK after not playing a single college game. If he wants to go be a pro, more power to him, but I do have an issue with him essentially hiding from NBA teams by not working out at the combine. He’s only doing testing while skipping the 5-on-5 competition, which would really showcase what kind of player he is.
By skipping those after not playing in college, Diallo is basically trying to hide what he is in hopes of some NBA team taking a first-round flyer on him, hoping he develops into a quality player.
It sounds like the scouts and execs are a little annoyed with Diallo’s strategy as well. If he wants to be a pro, he should put all of himself out there, not try to hide and effectively trick a team into drafting him.
“I didn’t think he was ready (to play at Kentucky),” a scout said. “And as far as not doing the 5-on-5, we’ve seen it in the past where once there’s a little bit of mystery; it helps to keep flying under the radar. It’s never a bad thing to be strategic and avoid exposing yourself. That’s my guess on why he’s doing this.”
While these scouts and executives may be sour on Diallo, it only takes one team to like you. I still think the Nets are the team that will strongly consider Diallo with both of their first-round picks in the latter part of Round 1.
If Diallo is convinced one of those picks will be used on him, that’s probably enough for him to remain in the draft.