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Hamidou Diallo report card: Lots to like about a second-round pick

Hamidou Diallo shoots over Chicago's Rawle Alkins in a December game. (Photo by Nate Billings)
Hamidou Diallo shoots over Chicago's Rawle Alkins in a December game. (Photo by Nate Billings)


Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo played more than the typical second-round draft pick and showed some promise. Here are the grades for Diallo’s 2018-19 season:

Shot selection: A. Diallo did not try to shoot his way to more playing time, which usually is a hard-learned lesson for rookies. But just 14.5 percent of Diallo’s shots were from beyond the 3-point line; only centers Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel had a smaller percentage. Only 2.4 percent of Diallo’s shots were 2-pointers of at least 16 feet, which is excellent course awareness. And 62.4 percent of his shots were from the restricted area, 0-3 feet from the basket. Only Adams shot a higher percentage of close-in shots.

Playing with stars: C. The Thunder usually thrived with Paul George and Russell Westbrook on the court. But OKC was mediocre when Diallo played with the stars. In the 24 minutes Diallo played with Westbrook, George, Adams and Jerami Grant, the Thunder was outscored 69-54. In 61 minutes of Diallo playing with Westbrook and George, regardless of the other two players, the Thunder outscored opponents by one. Diallo’s overall net rating – point differential per 100 possessions with a player on the court – was a minus-6.6. The Thunder was plus-4.7 without him, a difference of minus-11.3, which ranked Diallo only ahead of Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Abdel Nader and Patrick Patterson. That can happen with a player in the second unit. But the Thunder needs any lineup with Westbrook and George to do well.

Starting: A. With all that said, Diallo was given three starts and played well, all on the road, albeit against non-playoff teams Phoenix, Sacramento and Orlando. In those starts, Diallo averaged 8.7 points, made 10 of 13 shots and didn’t commit a turnover.

Three-point shooting: D. Diallo was a 33.8 percent 3-point shooter at Kentucky, so there was no reason to believe he would light up the NBA. But Diallo made just four of 24 deep shots as a rookie, despite taking quality 3-pointers. Only four of those 24 shots were from outside the corner. Diallo made just two of 10 from each corner. To warrant playing time, his shooting must improve.

Aggression: A. Diallo did not play meekly as a rookie. He attacked the basket with regularity and had a 35.8 free throw rate (number of foul shots per field-goal attempts), a Thunder figure surpassed only by Steven Adams. Diallo also was a bold offensive rebounder; his offensive rebounding rate (percentage of available offensive rebounds while a player is on the court) was bested only by Adams and Noel. And Diallo was rowdy defensively; his 5.3 fouls per 36 minutes was third on the team. Diallo did not tread lightly as a rookie, and that’s a good thing.

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) tries to score against Chicago's Rawle Alkins (20) during an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Oklahoma City won 121-96. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) tries to score against Chicago's Rawle Alkins (20) during an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Oklahoma City won 121-96. Photo by Nate Billings, The...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-24a7a03b33d3671a9f88e05015e4880c.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) tries to score against Chicago's Rawle Alkins (20) during an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Oklahoma City won 121-96. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) tries to score against Chicago's Rawle Alkins (20) during an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Oklahoma City won 121-96. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo (6) tries to score against Chicago's Rawle Alkins (20) during an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Oklahoma City won 121-96. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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