The Celtics have the 16th pick in the NBA draft this year.
After an underwhelming season, the Celtics have many needs that need to be addressed via the draft or free agency. Among other things, they could use a backup point guard, a defensive minded forward, and a scorer off of the bench.
But the one place where the Celtics need the most help is rebounding. They ranked 29th in team rebounding, totaling only 39.3 rebounds per game. And with the possibility of Kevin Garnet retiring, the teams need a big man more than ever.
Enter Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng, 23, was the starting center on the NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals.
Since enrolling at Louisville, the Senegal native has established himself as one of the NCAA’s premier big men. What sets Dieng apart from other centers are his elite measurements and his NBA ready skill set.
Standing at just under 6’11 in shoes, the 230 pounder has the size to be a true center in the NBA. He also has an incredibly long wingspan, which was measured at over 7’3 at the NBA Combine.
This season, Dieng averaged 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks, despite the fact that he broke his ankle in the beginning of the season.
But Dieng’s impact extends farther than the stat sheet. He anchored Louisville’s league leading defense and improved his offensive game.
While Dieng saw a drop in his block production this season, he made up for it by improving his man to man defense. In the NBA, Dieng should be able to hold his own against the majority of centers.
Offensively, Dieng scores most of his points around the basket. He has a solid post game, but lacks a consistent jump shot. Dieng also has a rare passing ability for a center, giving his game another dimension.
Deing would make a perfect fit for the Celtics, as he would be able to contribute right away in a position the team needs most. If the Celtics do land Dieng, he would probably jump right into the rotation as the team’s backup center.
Eventually, Dieng should develop into a similar player as Kendrick Perkins was: A defensive minded center with a limited offensive repertoire.