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Basketball philosophy

Do Gorgui Dieng and Kelly Olynyk have star potential?

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USD Toreros vs Gonzaga Bulldogs 02-02-13 Kelly...

USD Toreros vs Gonzaga Bulldogs 02-02-13 Kelly Olynyk (Photo credit: SD Dirk)

When making my early draft rankings this year, two players I neglected to grade are Gorgui Dieng and Kelly Olynyk. I don’t have an excuse other than I didn’t go out of my way to scout and grade them because I bought the assumption they weren’t good enough.

After looking closer at them, I’m convinced both are outstanding prospects. Enough to rank in my top 5 for this draft.

Breaking it down:

Gorgui Dieng

Physical impact: Dieng is impressive here. At 6’10 with a 7’4 wingspan, he has the length to be a shotblocker at either PF or C. He has impressive mobility and explosiveness and a solid frame, increasing his chance of playing C. Due to the rarity of athletic shotblockers who can play in the frontcourt, I see his physical impact talent as cleanly above average, if not elite in the NBA.

Skill impact: Labelled an anti-skill player, I find his toolset more promising. The key is he has a jumpshot with 20 foot range, similar to Serge Ibaka’s shot. He also can make turnaround jumpshots and a few hooks in the post, albeit without great size to hold position may struggle in the post in the NBA. Not a great finisher around the rim. Excellent passer for a C. I wouldn’t call Gorgui a standout skill player at the next level, but if his shot and passing translates I’d call him a respectable skill player.

Feel for the Game: Arguably more of a strength than his physical talents. Among the NCAA’s most intelligent defenders and plays a smooth and natural offensive game. His excellent feel and instincts is why I wouldn’t call him a raw offensive player.

Here is a standout game for Dieng this year

At 0:07 he shows smooth feel by driving to the basket after a fake, then finishing

At 0:15, 0:55 and 1:40 he shows his passing talent

At 0:21 and 1:16 he hits a long 2 point jumpshot

At 0:38, 1:00, 1:10, 1:47 and 2:03 he shows his athletic tools by blocking shots

At 1:31 he executes an impressive turnaround jumper out of the post

At 1:50 he shows some speed and feel driving the basket, albeit needs 2 attempts to finish

Dieng has an impressive combination of talents. I give him a grade of 8 in physical impact talent due to his athleticism and shotblocking, 5 in skill impact talent due to his reasonable perimeter shot and moves inside and 9 in feel for the game for his instincts and smoothness. This adds up to 22 – which is a terrific number, one near perennial all-star status. In fact since the C position isn’t known for its skills, if he plays there and has a consistent perimeter shot – my grading for him in skill could be undercutting him. On the other end, if his shotblocking doesn’t project like I expect, he may have less of a physical impact than I see right now.

Looking past how he’s been ignored for his age (23) and lack of points per game in college, the tools are there for Dieng. He has impact athleticism and shotblocking potential, an intelligent feel and the makings of an inside-outside skill game, which when added to his feel and fluidity, could be deadly. That’s a huge package of tools.

Kelly Olynyk

Physical impact: Known as Olynyk’s weakness. But while he’s not hulking in strength, Olynyk’s speed is impressive. One of the fastest bigs up the court and has blow-by ability in the halfcourt due to his first step and ballhandling. Underrated vertical explosiveness, he is capable of a poster above the rim. If he can use his ability to attack the basket facing the basket, he can physically impact the game at the pro level at a respectable level.

Skill impact: Has a terrific perimeter shooting game for a PF/C, with a chance to extend his range to the 3 point line. He is just as good a post player, but with his frame I wouldn’t expect him to hold position well in the post. Superb finisher around the rim however. Perimeter shooting bigs grade very well in skill impact for their position, thus Olynyk looks quite good here.

Feel for the Game: Olynyk’s strongest category. Among the league’s smoothest offensive players and a natural carving up space against defenses. Makes a lot of plays off instincts and playing at an easy pace.

Here is draftexpress.com’s video of Olynyk

From 0:53 to 1:20, the “Running the Floor” section, it shows Olynyk’s speed up the court and finishing

From 1:20 to 3:17, the “Off the Dribble” and “Pick and Roll sections, it shows Olynyk’s first step in the halfcourt as he blows by defenders to the rim

At 3:12, he has his most impressive athletic play of the season, a huge one handed poster

3:17 to 6:28 shows a variety of Olynyk’s scores around the rim. Much of these plays don’t look like they’re be effective against NBA competition physically, but their smoothness is evidence of excellent feel for the game

6:28 to 7:20 shows Olynyk’s very good perimeter shooting ability

I give Olynyk a grade of 6 in physical impact for his ability to blow-by defenders and attack the basket. I grade him an 8 in skill impact for his perimeter shooting game, seemingly a good bet for knockdown midrange ability if not 3 point range – as well as skill around the basket. Finally, I confidently grade him a 9 in feel for the game due to his natural instincts and fluidity. This score is 23. Like Dieng, a superb number. If Olynyk became a knockdown 3 point shooter, I’d likely bump that skill impact grade up. His potential slashing using his blow-by ability, may also be better than I gave him the grade for. His most likely scenario of falling below my project is my physical impact grade ending up too high and Olynyk sticking to perimeter jumpshots, or his shooting game somehow not translating. I’d say Olynyk has conceivable star potential. His perimeter skill and feel looks so good, that if he can take defenders off the dribble attacking the basket, he’d have a complete offensive game.

This will be far from the last I say of Dieng and Olynyk – these are unique, great prospects! Olynyk looks to be getting enough buzz to go in the lottery or top 10, but it remains to be seen whether Dieng’s buzz picks up. With the NBA’s love affari with athletic bigs and shotblockers, surely someone will have interest or notice he also has offensive potential? Perhaps his low ranking on mock drafts, is from teams not revealing information about how they high are on him.

Written by jr.

March 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Posted in Basketball, NBA Draft

Tagged with , ,

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