Mamadi Diakite has been part of some interesting years for the Virginia Cavaliers. He now will look to take that experience to the pro level and find a place in the NBA.
Mamadi Diakite 2020 NBA Draft Profile
Diakite is a redshirt senior forward from Guinea. In typical Tony Bennett fashion, Diakite entered college under the radar and has significantly improved each year on campus. The development has been clear and that is promising for the next level.
Diakite averaged 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds for his career. However, this season, he has increased all of his statistics, averaging 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. It is important to consider that Virginia does not score a lot, often averaging in the 50s, so nearly 14 points a game is a lot.
Undoubtedly, Diakite will go down in history at Virginia. He is part of the redemption team that followed an embarrassing first-round exit to a 16 seed with a National Championship. Specifically, he hit the game-tying shot to force overtime against Purdue after a tip out on a play sure to go down in history.
When discussing any Virginia player, defense comes first. Diakite is a great defender. He has long arms and quick feet which help him contain defenders and protect the hoop. Along with this, he is an excellent shot blocker. He averages 1.2 blocks per game for his career, but again, Virginia limits possessions so these numbers are deflated.
Diakite also has the ability to space the floor and eventually become a stretch big in the NBA. He can knock down 18 footers with ease and is a good spot-up shooter. He has increased his range each year and shot 36 percent on 55 threes this season.
Lastly, Diakite is special because of his energy. He is a high motor player and always brings energy. This puts him in the right spot often and also brings up the energy of his team. Players like this are important to have on rosters.
One of Diakite’s main limitations is his size. As a 6’9 224 pound forward, he does not have the physical capabilities to bang with bigger forwards. In the NBA, this limits him to playing the four spot. Additionally, he is a below-average rebounder. He only snags 16.9 percent of defensive rebounds and 12.5 percent of total rebounds. For reference, Virginia’s leading rebounder, Braxton Key, grabs 20.3 percent of defensive rebounds and 13.7 percent of total rebounds, as a 6’7 wing.
The other main weakness of Diakite is his lack of playmaking. When he has the ball, there is a slim chance that he will be creating for a teammate. This makes him mostly one dimensional on offense and that can be problematic. Luckily, at the next level, Diakite will not be relied on to be much of a scorer.
NBA Player Comparison
Brandon Bass. Both players have a solid midrange game and bring a ton of energy. Bass is slightly better as a rebounder and Diakite is slightly better as a defender. Diakite can play an important bench role on a good team.
NBA Draft Projection
Mid second round.
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