Despite refusing to move up during the 2022 NBA Draft, the LA Clippers had a long list of intriguing options at their disposal once they were officially on the clock with the 43rd overall pick.
After sifting through various names, LA took Moussa Diabate with their lone selection. Initially, draft prognosticators were somewhat bemused by LA’s thought process. During his time in Michigan, Diabate seldom stood out on the offensive end, averaging just nine points a night. However, regardless of his offensive limitations, defensively, he shined. So much so, in fact, that Lawrence Frank, LA’s President of Basketball Operations, admits that it was Moussa’s sturdiness on that end of the floor that made the Clippers gravitate towards him.
“Moussa is a young big with a high motor who runs the floor, crashes the glass, and defends multiple positions,” said Lawrence to a group of media members recently. “His energy is infectious. We enjoyed getting to know him in the draft process and are excited to grow with him. … He’s a guy that has an unbelievable motor, who has shown the ability to switch and guard multiple positions, and brings a little more athleticism.”
What could Diabate bring to the table for the Clippers?
Although LA has spent most of its existence languishing in basketball damnation, the additions of both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in 2019 have pushed them near the top of the food chain. Nevertheless, the Clippers struggled last season with both Leonard and George sidelined.
Regardless of their inactive roles last season, the Clippers will have championship expectations hanging over their heads. By and large, Diabate isn’t expected to be much of a contributor in that regard. But, even with the former Michigan Wolverine being viewed as a long-term project, Lawrence admits to being sold on him after watching a recent arduous pre-draft workout.
“When we talk about the qualities that we value, it all starts with your actions,” Frank said. “It was just so impressive just to see, on your 21st workout, to be able to bring the same energy and the same intensity that you had in your prior workouts. We saw some special qualities in him.”