When the Minnesota Timberwolves nabbed the rights to center Gorgui Dieng on draft night, I have to say I was very excited for them. Assuming their front court stayed intact and Nikola Pekovic re-signed — which he did — I thought Dieng was the perfect addition to the depth down low.
Later adding Ronny Turiaf to the mix that featured Dieng, Pekovic, Kevin Love and Derrick Williams proved that general manager Flip Saunders meant business in his first year as the general manager.
Dieng was the perfect addition to the Wolves’ front court. Already boasting a guy like Love who can score and rebound at an elite level, the Wolves were first and foremost excited to have Pekovic back starting alongside him. Pekovic is one of the more underrated big men in the league that can score and rebound at an efficient level as well.
Williams will be playing a bit of three and four this year, and many fans are hoping this is the year he breaks out — or else. Nonetheless, Williams is an intriguing player added to this group of big men.
Turiaf will probably not play a great deal of minutes, but what the Wolves know is that when he’s on the floor he will be playing at 100 miles and hour every single second — and they’ll take it.
Dieng, though, brings a young, fresh and athletic body to the paint. He showed what he can do in his most recent preseason game with the Wolves, grabbing nine boards and blocking four shots in about 25 minutes of action. Having the luxury of a phenomenal defender off the bench will prove to be a big difference for Minnesota.
The interesting thing is, when Love needs a break, they could very well go big and play both Dieng and Pekovic together. Pekovic being the scorer while Dieng is the aggressive shot blocker and rebounder. Defensively, there wasn’t another big man I liked more in this draft than Dieng — other than the injured Nerlens Noel who will not play for quite some time.
Minnesota got themselves a heck of a basketball player in Dieng this offseason and should be thrilled with how he produces in just his first year as a pro.