How good can Ousmane Dieng be in his career?

Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Ousmane Dieng with the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, a selection Sam Presti snatched from the New York Knicks by trading three future first-round picks for the right to draft Dieng.

Ousmane Dieng was always viewed as a project prospect at just 19 years old, he has shown a lot of flashes as a 6’9 playmaker that can score at all three levels and has already shown stellar defense in the NBA.

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Ousmane Dieng with the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but how good can the lottery pick be after a stellar stint in the G-League and NBA flashes?

Ousmane Dieng is already playing incredible defense, especially for a rookie. Synergy grades him out to be in the 75th percentile defensively allowing 0.8 points per possession, reaching the 85th percentile when he is placed in man defense.

That makes sense given Dieng’s length and lateral quickness, plus defense was his calling card a year ago against grown men in the NBL.

Offensively, Ousmane Dieng is still finding his role. With the OKC Blue in the G-League, there have been stretches where they rely on him as a playmaker. At the NBA level, there are just not many playmaking minutes to go around.

In the G-League, Dieng is an incredible 1.265 points per possession on spot-up scoring which ranks in the 86th percentile. When cutting to the basket, Dieng is sitting at 1.5 points per possession, with a point per possession off screens, and 1.1 points per possession in transition offense.

In this past week, Dieng has posted a 24 points, 12 rebound game followed up by another 20-point double-double all of this on the heels of his best NBA game a day before his most recent G-League assignment.

His last NBA experience was against the Hawks where he logged a career-high 15 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished an assist, and a teal while knocking down three triples on the road. Synergy already logs Dieng’s offense as average compared to the entire NBA, and his defense as very good which is an incredible baseline for the rookie just 14 games into his NBA career.

According to Cleaning the Glass, Dieng posted 73 percent shooting at the rim, which ranks him in the 76th percentile of the NBA for his position. This is impressive for a rookie, especially Ousmane Dieng who has flashed potential to be even better at dunking the ball with his athleticism in the future.

So the question is, how good can Ousmane Dieng be? 

I think given the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder already have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who is playing at an MVP level this year, much less an All-Star level, Chet Holmgren waiting in the wings who many tabbed as a future All-Star, and Jalen Williams who many are super high on, it is difficult for OKC fans to continue to cast high expectations on Dieng.

However, with the context of him being a top-12 pick in the NBA Draft, Sam Presti one of the most respected General Managers in the sport coming off of three future first-round picks for him, and the flashes he has already shown is not out of the question to tab him as an All-Star caliber player.

Now, it is important to note, that does not mean Dieng is a lock to ever make an All-Star game in Oklahoma City. Teams have to be incredibly good to have three All-Stars, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren have the edge in the narrative category not to mention another top pick likely to happen in the loaded 2023 NBA Draft, there is a shot Dieng never reaches the mid-season classic.

However, the point is he can play at that level. Look at the past two years of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander where he played at that level but could not crack the roster. Even looking at Mike Conley who had a great career and led many quality Memphis teams but did not make an All-Star game until he was in Utah in the 2020-21 season.

How good do you think Ousmane Dieng can be for the Oklahoma City Thunder?

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