Scouting Gorgui Dieng

Thursday, May 23, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Dieng

As we get approach the 2013 NBA Draft, we are reaching out to local experts to help us scout some of the players the Hawks may take in the first round.  We had Charlie Springer from UofLCardGame help us scout Louisville center Gorgui Dieng.

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

Strengths — Gorgui’s strongest asset, aside from his obvious physical assets, is a consistent commitment to personal improvement, applicable to everything he does. In his first press conference as a freshman, he related that his father had always told him that anything that comes too easy is not a good thing. He arrived at the University of Louisville three years ago lean and green, having played soccer most of his life and only a year of so of high school basketball, standing 6’10” weighing between 165 and 175 pounds. He put on about 50 pounds, almost all of it muscle, while he was here.

Because of his length, he has always been a good shot blocker. But he has developed a wide range of shots along the way, including zone-breaking jumpers from outside the key, a natural hook and occasional three-pointers. He also gets up and down the court quickly, finds open shooters, and is an effective defender, surprisingly making one or two steals per game. Toward the end he was becoming a floor general, helping out his point guard. If there’s something he needs to improve, he will work on it and get better. Count on it.

Weaknesses — Not many. Occasionally he seemed to be in awe of his surroundings on a major stage. Also, because he was so thin physically when he arrived, Gorgui would occasionally revert back, seemingly almost subconsciously. He’s a people person, not an intimidator, and that could be construed as a weakness by some.

What did he add to his team in college? What will he bring to an NBA team?

Gorgui is a genuinely humble individual, a very likeable person, very popular with his teammates and fans because of his upbringing and his personal outlook on things. He’s one of those people who brings out the best in others, inspiring cohesion and team qualities that occur naturally because of his sincerity and leadership qualities.

What kind of style is he best suited for?

Louisville fared well against slowdown styles as well as teams that like to run, so I believe he is prepared for either extreme.

What sets him apart from draft prospects at his position?

His consistent work ethic is the difference, eager to learn new things to improve himself and his team. One senses a desire for continuing learning and improvement from Gorgui that is rarely evident from typical players, perhaps due to his modest upbringing in Senegal.

Favorite memory of him at Louisville?

In the regional NCAA final against Duke, he was still unveiling offensive moves that we had never seen him make, active without the ball, making pick-and-roll shots and mid-range jumpers while outplaying NBA prospect Mason Plumlee. Gorgui had 14 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two steals in that game.

Here’s what some of the national mock drafts are saying about Dieng:

BleacherReport.com Analysis:  Atlanta will likely be in the throes of a major overhaul this offseason. But regardless of who stays and who goes, the Hawks still need to find a suitable center to lock down the paint at the defensive end.  Gorgui Dieng is a lengthy shot-blocker who also has some polish at the offensive end. There are big men still available with more upside, but Atlanta needs someone who can play an immediate role in its rebuild.

ESPN.com Analysis: Dieng also was in a walking boot for the entire combine process and wasn’t able to really help himself. A veteran team would love to have him, however. He’s not only a good rebounder and shot blocker, but he also is an excellent passer out of the high post.

NBA.com Analysis:  The run of backup centers begins. Dieng’s size and mobility translate into a future as a shot blocker, with signs of a respectable offense. Being 23 years old is a drawback, giving him fewer years to develop and play.

Photo courtesy of Zimbio.com

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