3 Thunder players who are underperforming, 4 exceeding expectations at the All-Star break

Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder
Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
7 of 8

Ousmane Dieng is underperforming

The Oklahoma City Thunder left the 2022 NBA Draft with three lottery picks. Chet Holmgren, taken second, looks like a defensive anchor and future All-Star. Jalen Williams went 12th and is already an elite scorer in his second season. The other selection, No. 11 overall, went to French forward Ousmane Dieng.

The 6'10" teenager was always going to need time to adjust to the NBA. His combination of size, length and skill was tantalizing, but he hadn't yet learned to put it all together. He appeared in 39 games as a rookie, and that was fine. This year, the hope was that he could start realizing that potential.

That has not been the case, as Dieng is playing fewer minutes this season and hasn't grown in his impact; in many places it has regressed. Playing for a great team like the Thunder are this season certainly brings different requirements for cracking the rotation, but the Thunder could use another skilled big and Dieng hasn't been able to capitalize.

If Dieng were dominating in the G League and simply couldn't find space in the big team's rotation, that would be one thing. But he's been so-so in the G League, averaging 15.6 points and a mere 6.5 rebounds while shooting 24 percent from deep. He is dishing 3.9 assists, but giving back 2.9 turnovers per contest.

It's not time to bail on Dieng's potential, but he hasn't done enough to prove he's on the track to becoming a long-term starter. He will need to find his outside shot, cut down on the turnovers and most of all improve as a rebounder to become the player the Thunder need him to be.