If the Atlanta Hawks take Hamidou Diallo at 19th overall, they will be getting the steal of the NBA Draft. After all, the only reason he would even be on the board is the uncertainty surrounding him.
Hamidou is just 18-years old, but graduated high school early last spring. Thus, he is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, if he opts not to go to Kentucky. Ranked the 11th overall recruit for next season’s draft class, Diallo arrived to Lexington this Spring to start practicing with the team he is commited to. His rare case will allow him to never have to suit up once for the Wildcats, if he feels he is ready.
Diallo is an absolute physical freak. He recorded the second highest vertical ever at the NBA Scouting Combine, and this translates over to his in-game play as he is a posterizing monster. His vertical has gone up ten inches in the past two years, and he has a 6’11” wingspan despite standing at 6’5″ with shoes on. He also possesses incredible speed.
Diallo uses this god given measurables to his advantage. He is a great finisher and even uses his wingspan to bring in a good amount of rebounds. His explosiveness, along with tools, make him this year’s version of Giannis Antetokounmpo. While he may not have the height Giannis possesses, what the two have in similar are they are both raw prospects with insane athleticism who must learn to hone their shooting abilities. The one knock on Diallo is his three point stroke has been lackluster. We have seen man yof the great players have to improve their shooting in their early years in the league, but there is no guarantee it will ever click.
However, with so many pros and seemingly one con, Diallo possesses star potential if he can start to hit jumpers more consistently. He even plays great defense, which is a must for Coach Mike Budenholzer. If Diallo can shoot league average, he could be an unstoppable force in the league. He is unstoppable in transition, but when the game slows down in the half-court he loses his effectiveness. Perhaps a stop at Hawks University to work on his mechanics could do him some good.
There is a really good chance that if this kid went to Kentucky and played, he would be a top ten pick next year. For this reason alone, the Hawks should try to draft for upside and give Diallo a chance. After all, if they are going to try to keep the band together, they won’t have any lottery picks anytime soon. This kid could be the diamond in the rough of this draft class.
Enjoy Diallo’s insane athleticism: