Hamidou Diallo isn’t being talked about this NBA Draft season nearly as much as he was last year.
After a disappointing redshirt freshman season, Diallo still opted to leave for the pros and begin what he hopes is a long NBA career. That’s obviously hard to envision after what we saw last season, but there were flashes of Diallo becoming a solid player in the pros, especially early in the season.
That being said, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have some praise for Diallo as a second-round pick. The two listed him in an article titled “NBA Draft second-round sleepers and steals to watch.” Here’s what they had to say.
Why he fits: Diallo is the prototype for what NBA teams are looking for at the wing position, standing 6-6, with a near 7-foot wingspan, a frame that will fill out in time and thermonuclear athleticism. His shooting mechanics are far from broken, and he showed marked improvement with his jumper over the past two years, completely revamping his mechanics. He has always been described by those around him as an incredibly hard worker who has little interests outside of basketball. Diallo’s defense was inconsistent, but he improved as the year moved on; late in the season, Diallo had some remarkable stretches where he looked like one of the best wing defenders in the college game.
They also describe Diallo’s downsides, saying that he was “far from productive” and that his ball-handling and free-throw shooting need work.
They also compared Diallo to Tony Snell, Jason Richardson and Andre Roberson physically.
The description is pretty accurate, and Diallo has the perfect size and athleticism to play the wing in the NBA. The issue is that they label Diallo’s role as a 3-and-D wing ... he’s really not great of either of those things. His defense was great at its best, but there was a lot of volatility in his performances on that end of the floor last year. And of course, there’s the issue that Diallo isn’t a good 3-point shooter.
Diallo works hard, and there’s no reason he can’t become more consistent on defense and improve his jumper enough to at least make opponents defend him. But as it stands, Diallo’s draftability is more about his raw physical measurements and his absurd athleticism.
You can read the rest of ESPN’s list here.