Scouting Report: Ousmane Dieng Is Raw, But He Fits the Prototype
The traits are there.
NBA teams are always looking for raw prospects with immense upside. Skill can be taught, physical traits can’t.
Ousmane Dieng spent this past season playing for the New Zealand Breakers in the National Basketball League. His numbers weren’t spectacular, but he still displayed legitimate promise with a coveted versatility.
The 6-10, 216-pound forward possesses fluid movements and excellent agility for his size. Those movement traits are his biggest appeal. While he’s raw in many aspects, his ability to handle the ball and move so succinctly provides a strong baseline to develop off.
He’s a great athlete who’s lauded for his size/athleticism combo, which is the driving force of his offensive game.
Dieng is a pick-and-roll maestro who scores almost all his points as the ball-handler in those situations. He’s debatably too reliant on those sets, but his effectiveness in those situations shouldn’t be understated.
He’s a smooth ball-handler with enough creativity, but his arsenal is still unpolished.
As a driver, Dieng’s first step isn’t overly explosive, but he’s got solid burst with long strides to get past defenders.
The right-hand dominated Dieng’s uber-effective floater is his primary weapon when he gets downhill. He changes speeds well and plays with an apt pace to his game.
However, his ineffectiveness in finishing through contact is an issue. Much of that can be drawn up to lack of strength with his thin frame. He almost always fades away from the basket, which is the root of his finishing woes.
At this stage, Dieng’s driving game hinges on length/athleticism and pick-and-rolls/switches. He’ll need to expand that and become more physical to thrive in the NBA.
But his jump shooting ability is peculiar. Although he’s shooting only 27% from deep on 4.2 attempts, he flashes premium pull-up ability from range.
Dieng doesn’t have deep range, but he’s able to size up defenders and hit contested 3-pointers. Whether it’s on walk-up triples or stepbacks/sidesteps, Dieng appears increasingly confident and skilled at creating space in those iso pull-up situations.
Still, he’s a streaky shooter who will need to tighten up his 3-point shooting prowess, but there’s much promise as a spot-up shooter and one who can create a shot off the dribble.
Perhaps surprisingly, he displays close to no mid-range prowess. It’s more of him not taking those attempts than missing them. Because he obviously has that creation ability on pull-up jumpers. It’ll just need to translate and boon in the middle are when he gets to the next level to be truly effective.
Overall, he’s a plus athlete who looks pretty good in the open floor. Again, not the fastest player you’ll see, but the athleticism at his size is commendable.
Dieng averages only 1.1 assists, but the number doesn’t tell the whole story.
He’s an improving playmaker who makes tremendous reads out of pick-and-rolls. His decision-making and vision are apparent as he finds teammates out of those sets. There’s still room for improvement in that department though.
As a rebounder, he sincerely struggles. Dieng averaged 3.2 rebounds and his effort supports the number.
Despite his size, he rarely box out, and he rarely crash the boards. When he does attempt to crash, he often gets pushed out because of his strength issues.
Time in the weight room would help — especially when you consider his size with the 7-0 wingspan — but his effort level will be the ultimate decider of his potency on the glass.
Then his defense is an interesting proposition.
In many situations, Dieng exhibits an excellent feel of when to slide as a help defender while staying locked in with his man off-ball. And he’ll stick one-on-one with his man and contain the ball well.
Other times, he may lose eyes and let a backdoor cut slip by or just get beat off the dribble because he overextends. Then there’s the issue of his strength. Sometimes he’ll get to the right position, but someone will simply lower their shoulder and finish through him. And that’s another reason improved strength is a necessity for Dieng.
His defensive intensity will need to be square to shake the inconsistency. His physical tools provide him the potential to develop into an elite defender.
And that seems to be the story with Dieng’s overall game. He shot just 40% this past season with only 8.9 points per game. He’s certainly raw, but for the right team, he could pay major dividends.