After a disappointing postseason loss to the Pacers, it is now time for the Knicks to plan ahead for next season. In this year’s draft, the Knicks have a chance to draft one of the hidden gems in this year’s class: Gorgui Dieng. A member of Louisville’s National Championship team, the 6’11” 245 lb. center has proven he is worthy of a spot in the NBA. Last year, Dieng showed he can perform exceptionally on both sides of the ball. The Big East Defensive Player of the Year averaged 2.5 blocks and 1.3 steals a game, and the year before that he averaged over THREE blocks a game. Those are ridiculous numbers for anyone, not to mention that he performed this well in a conference as competitive as the Big East. However, Dieng can do more than just defend. Averaging 9.4 rebounds a game and 9.8 points a game, Dieng was a pivotal part of the Cardinal’s offense as well as defense. Dieng shot 53.4% from the field last year, and to put that into persepective this year was LeBron James’ only season ever to shoot better than that.
Not only is his talent incredibly underrated, but the Knicks need him as well. Right now, there is not a single center or power forward on the Knicks’ roster that is under thirty years old. Not only that, but the Knicks also lack a dominant ‘big man,’ with both Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler having a year full of disappointment and injury. For example, against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs the Knicks had no answer for Jeff Green, who averaged more than 20 points a game during the series. If the Knicks are able to acquire Dieng, he should be able to make an immediate impact for their defense and will help them stop players like Green from walking all over them.
Another key factor to Dieng’s future on the Knicks is that he is extremely underrated. Dieng doesn’t even crack Chad Ford’s top 20 prospects, which bodes well for the Knicks seeing as they have the 24th pick. The only real threat to select Dieng before the Knicks is their New York rival: the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are also in need for a big man to dominate down low, but they are looking at and may very well possibly draft Rudy Gobert, the 7’2″ center from France. Aside from the Nets, there shouldn’t be a major issue if the Knicks do choose to pursue Dieng. Assuming that no top-15 player manages to fall to the Knicks along with Dieng, it’s safe to say that the Knicks should and likely will draft Gorgui Dieng. Knicks fans can only hope that Dieng lives up to and exceeds all of his expectations.