Our 2022 NBA Draft scouting report series continues with a dive on Ousmane Dieng, a wing prospect who spent time in the NBL this past season.
Ousmane Dieng is a versatile wing who played for the New Zealand Breakers in the 2021-22 NBL season. He has real offensive upside as he has a lot of tools, both physical and skill-based. He is the type of shoot, handle, and pass prospect that certain front offices might value highly. At 19-years-old, Dieng shows a lot of potential coming into the NBA.
Weight: 215 lbs.
- Two-Way Upside
In his limited time in the NBL, Dieng proved to be an exciting playmaker in both the half-court and transition. He consistently used his 7’ wingspan to sling passes around defenders, and he has a surprisingly smooth handle for his size. His offensive feel and awareness jumps out on the tape, and he has a little flashiness in his game that is quite easy on the eyes. That same passing touch comes in handy around the basket too, as he can finish around contact with his length and is highly coordinated.
His feel for the game extends to the other side of the floor. While Dieng is not a consistent defender today (we’ll get to that later), he does have the length and feel to make plays defensively. He has shown weak-side block potential and good rotational sense; and while he may not be the fastest, he’s not so slow to where he gets beat consistently. If he can bulk up on an NBA program, and learn to absorb contact, his two-way potential seems quite high.
His shooting, similar to his defense, is not currently a plus skill at the NBA level. However, he did show upside as a catch-and-shoot (C&S) threat, and has a workable shooting form. If he can become a consistent shooting threat, he will see minutes. It’s probably the biggest swing factor for his upside.
- Shot Creation
Right now, at 19 years old, Ousmane Dieng is going to get pushed around in the NBA. That said, his frame and build suggests that he should be able to gain size and weight as he matures. This bodes well for his two-way upside. Currently, he has not shown the ability to finish through contact, and relies a lot on floaters and runners to score around the rim. Defensively, he does well on rotations, because that allows him to move freely, but straight-up in the post, he does get bullied and won’t be able to stop a determined NBA finisher from scoring at the rim.
You wonder if he runs into the issues where he can’t quite assert himself offensively, despite his talents as a playmaker. If he cannot rise up and finish through contact, or can’t shoot consistently from the outside, then his effectiveness becomes severely limited. There are very few guys at 6’ 10” in the NBA who are only out there to make plays for others, which is the only fully NBA-ready skill he has entering the draft.
That said, if he is able to add size and weight to his frame, and he learns to absorb contact and assert himself on both sides of the floor, there is genuine starter potential here. Obviously, he has a lot to figure out, but he is well equipped to solve those challenges with the right franchise.
Conclusion & Hawks Fit
It seems that Dieng could be available for the Hawks at #16 come draft night. Indeed, he does fit the general mold of what Travis Schlenk likes: shoot, handle, pass. The swing factors, namely adding weight and improving his shooting, are important. It’s my personal opinion (or preference) that the Hawks should target someone who can quickly make an impact at the highest level, and Dieng might not get there for a few years.
In a vacuum, Dieng is a great pick with upside, who has all the opportunity to become a valuable wing in a league that has been trending towards his archetype. He will be better served going to a franchise who will give him the time and space to figure out and expand his game. It’s debatable if the Hawks are looking for that type of commitment. If Dieng is available at #16, he very well might be the best player on the board, but he might not be the best option for the Hawks.