Who is Cheick Diallo?

This is the time of year where free agent rumors run rampant. There is a ton of speculation and it can be very difficult to sort through what is nonsense and what is actual news. To try to get the most accurate info Mavs fans, such as myself, focus on several key sources for Mavericks news such as Marc Stein, Mike Fisher, Brad Townsend, and Tim MacMahon.

Earlier this week ESPN’s Tim MacMahon floated the idea that, in the wake of the New Orleans Pelicans neglecting to extend a Qualifying Offer to Cheick Diallo, there is a agood chance that he could soon find himself as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.

Coming from a reputable source such as MacMahon, I think this is something worth exploring more to figure exactly what kind of player Cheick Diallo is and whether or not he would be a good fit for the Dallas Mavericks.

Cheick Diallo is a 6’9″ 220 lb Power Forward with a 7’4.5″ wingspan who played the last three seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite averaging just 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks in 14 minutes per game last year, Diallo is just 22 years old and already proven to be an efficient scorer and high level rebounder.

Cheick Diallo 2018-2019 Per 36 Minute Stats
Per 36 Min Age G FG% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS
2018-19 22 64 62% 75% 13.3 1.3 1.2 1.3 15.5

On a per 36 minute basis Diallo has actually been very productive, especially given his age. Last season there were only two players in the NBA 22 years old or younger who averaged at least 15 points and 13 rebounds per 36 minutes played, Cheick Diallo and Domantis Sabonis. If you add in the fact that Diallo also added over a block per 36 minutes he is in a class all of his own when it comes to young NBA players.

Cheick Diallo 2018-2019 Advanced Stats
PER TS% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
17.5 64% 8.8 29.3 19.2 5.1 1.5 3 14 16

Diallo’s advanced stats are quite impressive for a 22 year old as well. His best skill is by far his rebounding. 29.3% Defensive Rebounding rate and 19.2% Total Rebounding rate rank 10th and 15th in the entire NBA respectively, regardless of age.

In addition, his True Shooting Percentage (TS%) of 64.4% is among the elite, 11th in the entire NBA. Of course this is in big part due to his 62% field goal percentage but is helped by his impressive 75% free throw percentage for a big man.

A block rate of 3% is a respectable number as well, ranking him right around solid defenders like Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan.

Cheick Diallo has proven to be an efficient scorer around the rim, using his length and athleticism to finish over and around defenders, finishing 75% of his attempts around the rim. At this point in his career he is not a guy that you throw the ball to in the post and let him do his own work to get a bucket as 81% of his field goals were assisted this season. Right now he is most effective in the pick and roll and finishing dump offs from attacking guards.

This fits perfectly into what his potential roll could be for the Dallas Mavericks. With Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis primarily controlling the ball, Diallo would be able to patrol the paint and be ready to take advantage when the ball comes his way.

Diallo is not at all a three point threat but he has shown the ability to step out into the mid-range and knock down jumpers. In the 2018-2019 season Diallo was successful on 50% of his attempts from 10-16 feet and 44% of attempts from 16 feet to the three point line. This shows that Diallo doesn’t have to just stand around the basket to be effective. If defenses hang way back to try to keep Luka or Kristaps away from the rim, Diallo can still apply pressure with his smooth stroke from mid-range.

If you take a look at his top games and highlight videos you can see all of this in action.

Cheick Diallo 2018-2019 Top Games
Opp MP FG% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS GmSc
IND 26 71% 86% 18 1 0 1 16 19.9
LAL 19 100% 100% 10 0 1 2 18 18
CHI 23 88% 80% 9 0 0 1 18 17.8
PHO 21 78% 50% 11 1 2 0 15 17.5
SAS 23 71% 100% 8 3 1 1 13 15.7
2018-2019 Highlight Film

After reviewing all of his recent stats and watching Cheick Diallo play he appears to be an incredible fit for the Dallas Mavericks. His elite defensive rebounding, finishing ability, and solid rim protection fill three very useful roles for the Mavs as they are currently constructed. Furthermore, his age and under the radar status would appear to give the Mavericks a chance to acquire him on a very team favorable deal and allow him to grow with Luka Doncic over the next few years.

I do not think he would step in and immediately start or play big minutes but he could be another addition to a rotation of productive big men including Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber. Playing all of these guys between 15-25 minutes per game would allow them all to stay fresh and play with high energy whenever they are called on.

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