The OKC Thunder have a number of players with team options that they need to decide on this offseason. Today we look at Hamidou Diallo.
While the OKC Thunder has some major decisions to make with their starting group, this season has certainly shown the importance of the bench. Hamidou Diallo was a key piece of this second unit. He was often the first or second player inserted into games depending on the situation.
Diallo averaged 6.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 0.8 steals in 19.5 minutes per game. All of these numbers are increases on his rookie year, which is what you want from a 21-year-old in just his second season.
Where Diallo was most impressive was when he came off the bench. His energy was always a spark for the OKC Thunder. In the three games, he started, this seemed to be lost as everyone is usually up for the start of a game.
Defensively Diallo took a leap from year one to year two. Until his elbow injury, Diallo was usually replacing Terrance Ferguson, taking the toughest wing assignments nightly. It also seemed that every game he was stealing an inbound pass and dunking it.
The pros of the OKC Thunder taking up Diallo’s team option.
As mentioned earlier, Diallo is a tremendous spark for his team. He comes on the court and has the ability to take the opposition by surprise. This shows that he has a tremendous attitude toward playing the game, valuing every minute on the court, often changing momentum with his intensity.
On top of this Diallo is an incredibly versatile player. In his rookie season, he played eight percent of his time at the point, 79 percent at shooting guard and 13 percent at the small forward position.
Fast forward to last season and Diallo played no time at the point. Instead, he played 19 percent at shooting guard, 71 percent of his time at small forward, and 10 percent at the power forward position. He is able to be so versatile due to his nuclear athleticism.
Diallo also is an inexpensive bench piece, due only $1.6 million should the team decide to take up his option. With the team potentially starting a rebuild this season, a low cost, high energy player is a nice luxury.
The cons of the OKC Thunder taking up Diallo’s team option.
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The biggest hole in Diallo’s game is easily his 3-point shooting. During his rookie season, he hit just 16.7 percent of his attempts from deep. Last season he hit just 28.1 percent. While this is growth, it is not enough to help space the floor, yet.
The other issue with Diallo is also shooting related. In his career, he is a 60.7 percent shooter from the line. He also only makes it to the line 1.3 times per game. These are not good enough numbers for a player who attacks the rim like Diallo does.
Should the OKC Thunder take up Diallo’s team option?
The answer to this is a resounding yes. He is a low cost, high impact player who plays his heart out every time he gets on the court.
At only 21 Diallo has plenty of time to improve his game. The growth and development he has shown from year one to year two suggest that Diallo is a player who is not afraid to work. This is going to be crucial for a potential rebuild for the OKC Thunder.