Cheick Diallo was drafted 33rd overall by the New Orleans Pelicans. After exploring trades, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps finally struck a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, getting Diallo's draft rights for the 39 and 40th overall picks.
Cheick Diallo had an incredible high school career when he was at Our Savior New American where he received several accolades. Some of these accolades include five-star rankings from scout services and was the number 7 overall recruit according to ESPN.com.
Diallo received invitations to the prestigious McDonalds All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic where Diallo won the MVP in both contests. Yet when Diallo arrived at Kansas, issues started to arise that deterred the high-school sensation from Mali from playing. First, Diallo was suspended for five games for receiving $165 worth of impermissible benefits and almost was suspended longer due to transcript issues for Diallo. After Diallo was cleared by the NCAA ,he still had difficulty getting on the court for Kansas as he averaged 7.5 minutes per game and missed 5 games because of coach’s decision.
Diallo does have a skill set that could translate into the NBA. His first asset is his raw athleticism that gives Diallo the potential to dominate the glass along with his 7 foot 4-inch wingspan. Second, Diallo does have the ability to alter and block shots around the rim and could be projected ti be a defensive stalworth in the NBA. Third, would be a character trait and that is Diallo has motivation because he has been criticized for leaving Kanas early. While the argument that if you cannot play at high-level in the NCAA, you should not declare for the NBA is valid, not everyone has Diallo’s ability. Now it will be interesting to see how these negative comments motivate Diallo in his professional basketball career.
Diallo’s offensive skills are still unpolished as is evident by Diallo’s 55.6% free throw percentage. Also, many scouts were not able to truly evaluate Diallo because his lack of playing time at Kansas, and the lack of playing time also raises more warning flags about potential limitations in Diallo’s play
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Diallo could have a long and productive career in the NBA if he is able to develop into a rebounding and defensive force. Whatever offense he provides would be considered a bonus.