2013 NBA Draft Preview: Gorgui Dieng Is More Than Just A Shot Blocker

Upside: No matter what your offensive game looks like, people will always value someone who has “Big East Defensive Player Of The Year” on their playing résumé. Louisville center Gorgui Dieng made a name for himself this year by blocking every shot he could and rebounding with authority for the National Championship-winning Louisville Cardinals.

He has intrigued several teams with what looks like legit elite defensive skills. He comes with worthy measurables, with averages of nearly 10 points and 10 rebounds to go along with an impressive 2.5 blocks per game. He’s also an underrated passer and helps offensive flow by setting picks. At 6´11 and 240 pounds, opponents have to respect his presence on the floor. On the right team, he can absolutely contribute right away; whether that’s a team on the rise or a contender just needing to sure up a couple of spots before they turn on the legit light and make a run.

Downside: He can’t really score. I mean, he’s not totally inept (he showed a respectable 12 to15-foot jump shot throughout the NCAA tourney), but at no time should he be counted on to make shots. He is strictly the kind of player who will get his points on put backs and via lobs from pick-and-rolls. He has zero go-to moves in the post, and there’s no guarantee he’ll ever get that part of the game added to his repertoire. I’m not sold on him being a starter, but he’ll be a respectable pro player, which for a big man is sometimes all you can ask.

For a league becoming more and more perimeter focused, plodding big men are becoming useless. Dieng has the ability to defend on the wing and in the post. I can think of about 15 teams right now, that could use his help. No way Dieng falls out of the first round.