French rookie Ousmane Dieng (Oklahoma) moves to the NBA
Arriving in complete anonymity last summer from Oklahoma, French rookie Ousmane Dieng (19) is slowly starting to make a name for himself. Sunday night, he signed his best career game against the San Antonio Spurs with 17 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes on 46% shooting, allowing the Thunder to seek a precious victory (102-90) in the race at play-in.
Without Aleksej Pokusevski and Kenrich Williams, Dieng has made himself indispensable to his coach Mark Daigneault, who indeed relies more on the Frenchman. Since the beginning of March, the native of Villeneuve-sur-Lot (Lot-et-Garonne), passed in particular by Insep, plays an average of 20.8 minutes per game for 10.7 points and five rebounds, 47% shooting . Rather solid statistics for the seventh youngest player in the league, which allowed the Thunder, current 10th in the Western Conference, to win five times in his last six appearances. Against Golden State on March 8, he notably scored 11 points and five rebounds with a bonus buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter.
The next day, during his team’s heavy defeat (132-101) against the Phoenix Suns, he scored 12 points in 28 minutes.
An attractive profile
While everyone thought he would evolve into Betclic Elite, Ousmane Dieng had made the choice the year before his draft to join the New Zealand Breakers, in New Zealand. Twenty-three pro matches in total were enough to convince Oklahoma City to select him. Drafted in 11th position last summer by the New York Knicks, he was sent to OKC in the process in exchange for several first draft rounds. Because if the potential of the French rookie seems to be released for a few meetings, his profile of winger of 2.08m capable of leading the game has always had an eye for scouts.
Slowed down by a broken wrist in December, Dieng had previously played in the G-League (16 points and 9 rebounds on average) at Oklahoma City Blue with his compatriot Olivier Sarr. Now spared from injuries and taking advantage of the absences in progress, the Frenchman has caught up well. To his delight and that of OKC fans.