COMMENTARY | With the 2013 NBA Draft scheduled for this week at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, team owners and coaches are trying to establish a game plan to get the best pick for their team. Since there are no real athletic standouts this year, the Nets, with the 22nd pick, have a shot at scoring a fairly good player who can help fill the gaps of the missing positions in their current roster.
With a few players up for free agency, it would be advantageous for the Nets to choose a draftee who could potentially act as a solid backup for the positions in contingency, should those players choose to sign elsewhere. Andray Blatche, center for the team, is up for an unrestricted free agency with an injury riddled Brook Lopez being the starting center. According to NBC Sports, Blatche stated that his return would be dependent on playing time, as he is looking for a starting spot on a roster. Brook Lopez recently underwent surgery on his foot to fix an injury he previously sustained, and is not able to return to basketball-related activities until August. The Nets are not flexible on their starting lineup when the team is injury free and in optimal condition, but when one unforeseen event happens that leaves Lopez on the sidelines, it causes a major need for another center. A potential pick that could make an immediate impact for the Nets is former Louisville center, Gorgui Dieng .
Dieng is scheduled to work out with the Nets at their final draft workout this week. Standing at 6'11", with a wingspan of 7'4", Dieng proved to be a solid defender as he was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year last season after blocking 2.5 shots and grabbing 9.4 rebounds per game. The Senegal native also received All-Big East First Team honors as a junior, playing a pivotal role to Louisville's NCAA National Championship, with his agility on the court and quick ball movement skills. His strength lies in his ability to use his size as an advantage, protecting the rim aggressively and intensively defending one-on-one, leaving his opponents dazed and confused. Averaging 2.5 assists per game, Dieng is smart on this ball distribution, exhibiting precise passes.
While most defenders lack offensive skill, what makes Dieng so valuable is his consistency as a mid-range shooter. Averaging 9.8 points per game at Louisville, Dieng hit 50% of his 42 attempts overall last season, finding consistency in a catch and shoot approach, in addition to banking 65% of his shots from the foul line.
With his good rebounding skills and ability to protect the ball at the rim, Dieng is definitely one to watch during the draft. It is predicted that he will be a late first-round pick. The Nets better hope that no one snatches him up before their 22nd pick, because with his strength, shot-blocking skill and fluidity on the court, Gorgui Dieng would be a great back-up to Brook Lopez and an overall asset to the team.
Amy A. Christine is a professional writer, journalist and sportswriter from NY who is following the development of all NBA teams and keeping a watchful eye on the Brooklyn Nets.
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