OKC Thunder: 3 Players Who Need to Take a Leap this Season

Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
OKC Thunder
Oct 9, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Ousmane Dieng (13) Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports /

Ousmane Dieng

Ousmane Dieng is a second-year forward who was taken 11th overall in the 2022 NBA draft and played in 39 games, averaging 14 minutes per game his rookie year. He averaged five points, two rebounds, and an assist per game while shooting 42 percent from the field, 26 percent from three, and 65 percent from the free throw line.

He also played for the Thunder’s G-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, averaging 34 minutes per game. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game, shooting 45 percent from the field, 34.9 percent from three, and 40 percent from the free throw line.

It was an up-and-down year for Dieng that also saw him miss time due to a wrist injury he suffered in the middle of the season. Dieng was a high-ceiling prospect with great potential as a primary wing defender and shot-creator.

He rose draft boards late due to his size and athletic ability. Dieng must be more impactful this season for this Thunder team to leap to the top six of the Western Conference. He has the size and agility at 6’10 to guard the 1-4 positions, but he needs to improve his shooting.

He showed improvement during his seven games in summer league, having a 35 percent three-point percentage on five attempts per game while playing 30 minutes across seven total games. If he can shoot that percentage across a whole season as the eighth guy off the bench, play good defense, and attack an occasional close-out, it will help the Thunder to move into the next tier of Western Conference teams.