OKC Thunder wing depth takes a leap forward with Hamidou Diallo’s expedited development

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OKC Thunder

Hamidou Diallo #6 of the OKC Thunderin action during an opening night game against the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Hamidou Diallo’s rapid development is offering OKC Thunder bench boss Billy Donovan options. But is he ready to take a starting lineup leap?

As the OKC Thunder took to the court after half time in the match versus the New Orleans Pelicans, Hamidou Diallo moved into the starting rotation.

Eventually, word followed via Royce Young that Terrence Ferguson was suffering from flu-like symptoms.

The interesting side note was although I didn’t see the initial tweet about TFerg being sick it wasn’t an immediate thought.

That’s not necessarily a slight on Ferguson as much as it is was a hat tip to Diallo.

Diallo had roared onto the court in the first half scoring 12 points. He shot five of nine from the field and got to the line for three free shots while also grabbing three rebounds. The dunks were coming in bunches and he appeared to be in constant motion often providing a moving target for the ball distributors as he continued to make cuts to the basket. Which was why the switch made perfect sense.

Unfortunately, Hami’s second half was less productive, at least offensively. In fact, he didn’t score another point. The Kentucky product got up another five shots but none fell through the hoop. His only box score additions were two rebounds, an assist, steal and block.

In fairness, replacing Ferguson meant his defensive intensity had to increase and he had a tougher assignment facing starters instead of reserves.

In the grades after the match, I pondered whether Diallo should be given the starting job. And, truthfully it’s not a simple yes or no answer.

Billy Donovan could certainly make it an open competition between TFerg and Diallo where the player who produces gets the starts or the extra playing time. Yet, there are several factors to consider.

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