Ever since Omer Asik signed with the Houston Rockets, it was obvious that the Chicago Bulls needed more help in the frontcourt. With great length and defensive abilities, Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng has the potential to fill that gap well.
The 6′ 11″, 230 lb. center remained a Louisville Cardinal up until his junior season, where he averaged a near double-double of 9.8 points and 9.4 rebounds. Along with that, he added 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game. These averages of his reveal his defensive prowess, and much of it is due to his size.
Dieng’s 7′ 3.5″ wingspan makes it easier for him to block and/or alter his opponents’ shots, but he does not only use this to his advantage in the paint. He takes further advantage of his length by using it to grab steals and get in passing lanes to poke away the ball. It does not end there though. Dieng showed he can defend the perimeter and can stay on guards. Not to mention he was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year for 2013.
Where Dieng could struggle defensively though, is defending on the post. For a basketball player of his height, he is quite skinny. It could easily become difficult for him to taken advantage of my NBA bigs, not just defensively, but offensively as well.
Scoring in the paint is not too much of a problem for him with his size, but his strength will come into question when attempting to post up, especially in the NBA. It is unlikely that Dieng will be up against a weak center. More likely than not, he will have the issue of having to go up against a guy much stronger than him, so that will definitely be something he has to work on.
However, Dieng, originally from Kebemer, Senegal, has added 50 pounds to his weight since coming to the United States in 2009. So there is still the possibility he continues to add onto his frame to become more dominant in the paint.
One thing Dieng has improved upon offensively though is his jump shot. Now, this would not be a go-to skill of his necessarily, but he has shown that he can make mid-range jumpers. If he can continuing working on that to the point where he can knock them down on a consistent basis, Dieng could be a force to be reckoned with offensively. Plus, there would not be many players who could truly contest Dieng’s jumper, considering his length.
Another concern would be Dieng’s age. At 23, he is definitely one of the older players looking to be drafted, so the amount of improvement he can make is questionable. But given the right mindset, there is no reason why he could not improve. After all, Dieng only began to play basketball six years ago. So at the rate he is going, it seems like he is at a good place.
Overall, the Bulls would be a nice fit for Dieng. Defense is his specialty just as it is Chicago’s specialty. Offense is an aspect Dieng needs work on, and it is also something the Bulls have shown to struggle with. If he were to be drafted to the Windy City, his defense would fit right in, and he could improve his offense with the team as a whole.