LA Clippers fans quickly ran to their computers and typed in Moussa Diabate’s name to get acquainted with their newly drafted rookie. With only one pick, 43rd overall, in this year’s draft, the Clippers opted against a more proven veteran with their selection.
While Diabate’s numbers won’t leap off the page and scream superstar, his somewhat raw game has more substance than his averages of nine points and six rebounds would indicate.
Admittedly, Diabate steps into a sticky situation. Currently, LA has high hopes heading into the 2022-23 NBA season. If everything falls into place, their barren rafters will be rewarded with a championship banner. Along the way, however, Diabate figures to play a fairly insignificant role.
Still, despite Diabate likely spending his rookie season at the end of the bench, the lanky power forward has the sort of defensive chops that head coach Ty Lue desires. While his freshman year at Michigan State didn’t garner much attention, Diabate had moments where he was undoubtedly the best player on the court.
As he now turns the page on his collegiate career and attempts to develop his game rapidly under a pro system, let’s take a look back at when Diabate dominated on the college court.
Date: January 29th, 2022
Stats: 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks
At times, Moussa Diabate struggled on the defensive side of the ball against bigger, longer, and more physically imposing players. Though he was forced off his spot far too often, as the season moved forward, Diabate’s body began to change. During a fairly early season game against Michigan State, Diabate placed his newfound strength on display.
The 19-year-old strong-nosed defender demanded the ball on the low block, resulting in 11 points on the night. He pushed Michigan State players violently out of his way as he made his way to the basketball, finishing the game with nine boards.
Diabate’s eagerness to play aggressively on this particular night, resulted in several Michigan State players challenging him at the rim. Opposing guards blew past Michigan’s initial defender but were quickly turned back by Diabate, as he ended the night with three rejections.
Ultimately, Diabate’s hustle and persistence allowed Michigan to keep it close in the first half. However, the final 20 minutes of the ball game was a completely different story as Michigan was ran out of the gym, losing by 16 points.