OKC Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo makes big impression

OKC Thunder second-round pick Hamidou Diallo is gaining respect among teammates and possibly earning playing time in the process.

Most second-round picks in the NBA often spend some time in the G-League before making an appearance in the NBA. But after lighting it up in the summer league and preseason, the OKC Thunder second-round pick from Kentucky, Hamidou Diallo, may have already earned a spot in the rotation.

Diallo came to camp as a raw prospect with plenty of athleticism. Although there’s a lot of potential to fulfill, he’s used what he has now to make an impact on every part of the game. And his performances in games and practices has caught the eyes of his teammates.

Shooting comes naturally for some, but as of now, Diallo prefers cutting to the rim as a slashing guard. He’s an excellent finisher in traffic and will throw it down with authority if given a lane. Attacking the basket is also a good way to get to the free throw line, which is another positive for youngster. Diallo went 9-for-11 in his first three outings of the preseason.

Diallo’s speed also makes him a menacing defender, and he always seems to make the hustle plays. Perhaps most impressive about speed, however, is his ability to limit turnovers. Diallo is a big factor in transition, but is able to limit his turnovers with just one in his first three games of the preseason. Add those things to being a good rebounding guard and you have a quality, two-way wing player.

Diallo doesn’t have it all figured out yet. He still has a long way to go in terms of shooting and refining his fundamentals, but he’s using the tools he has now to his advantage. OKC is a deep team and likely won’t need his help this year, but his potential is promising.

If he can build upon the hype he’s created for himself in just a few short months and chip in where needed in the meantime, it will have been well worth the draft pick.