Hamidou Diallo has not had the season he would have hoped for with the OKC Thunder. He needs to add range to his shot if he is to help propel the Thunder to the next level.
Hamidou Diallo was a strong part of the rotation for the OKC Thunder, usually he was the first man up off the bench. Then he fell awkwardly against the Los Angeles Lakers, hyper-extending his surgically repaired elbow and keeping him out for 17 games.
This was both a blessing and a curse for the OKC Thunder. Diallo had been brilliant on defense and he was able to convert that to easy buckets. Coach Billy Donovan was then forced to use players he would not have if Diallo was uninjured.
This highlighted the next man up mentality which has defined the Thunder this season. It also meant that other players were ready to go when they were called on due to other injuries. Abdel Nader and then Luguentz Dort were drafted into the starting line up when Terrance Ferguson was out.
However, since Diallo has been back, he has slipped in and out of the rotation depending on the opponent. His nuclear athleticism and defensive nous are too good to stay on the bench. He is something to behold when he has stolen the ball and has open court in front of him.
However, there is an issue which Diallo needs to work on so that he can help the OKC Thunder take the next step.
Add range to his shot.
We all know that Diallo can dunk. You do not win the slam dunk competition at the 2019 All-Star weekend if you can’t. The problem is that with the OKC Thunder identity being ball movement and floor spacing and Diallo does not have the required range to warrant much playing time.
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Diallo takes 85.0 percent of his shots from inside the arc. To break this number down further, he takes 46.6 percent from within 0-3 feet with am average field goal distance of 7.6 feet.
Believe it or not, this number is up from last year where Diallo had an average distance of 6.3 feet on his field goal attempts.
Add to this he has 23 dunks on 87 made shots and it is easy to see that Diallo needs to extend his range. In fact, Diallo only takes 15.0 percent of his shots from deep and only makes 17.2 percent of these.
When Diallo is battling for playing time with Ferguson, Dort, Nader and Deonte Burton, he needs to have the ability to space the floor like they do. Otherwise, the floor shrinks for the rest of his teammates as defenders can cheat off him.
Additionally, this offseason he will need to make this a priority on his homework list regardless if he improves this season or not.