Who will take on the responsibilities as the LA Clippers’ backup center?

Ivica Zubac, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Ivica Zubac, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

After losing Isaiah Hartenstein in the early stages of free agency, the LA Clippers need a backup center. As the 2022 regular season is approaching, there aren’t many big men on the market that fit the Clippers’ criteria. Head coach, Tyronn Lue, needs a center who hustles on the defensive end and can create extra opportunities for the offense.

Despite signing Moses Brown to a training camp deal, the LA Clippers understand that having depth at the center position plays a prominent role in competing for a championship. Brown has shown signs of potential in the preseason, but he is not the answer the LA Clippers are looking for. However, he will be a solid piece for Lue and his staff down the road.

Furthermore, this leaves Lue with the second-round draft pick, Moussa Diabate. In the summer league, Diabate consistently flashed the kind of player he could develop into. Not only does he show exceptional effort on the glass, but his mobility allows him to guard almost any position on the defensive end.

When it matters most, the top players in the NBA tend to expose the mismatch on the court. From the point guard to the wing, the LA Clippers have a great group of players who can effectively guard the perimeter. Having a player like Diabate, who is fearless on defense, can elevate the potential of the LA Clippers to a whole new level.

The rookie center, Moussa Diabate, appears ready for a significant role in the LA Clippers’ championship aspirations.

As the most important season in franchise history awaits for the LA Clippers, Lue’s only option as the backup center is Moussa Diabate. Other than Ivica Zubac, the LA Clippers do not have an established veteran center. Although Diabate is a rookie, he possesses all the tools to star in his role as the Clippers’ second rotational center.

Moreover, Diabate fits the backup center position perfectly. Through the first two preseason games of his career, Diabate has averaged 10 points and 9 rebounds in only 22 minutes played per game. This shows that Diabate can compete with the best of the best. There should be no reason why he is not the LA Clippers’ backup center heading into the regular season.

In addition, Diabate’s size allows him to make his impact known on both ends of the floor. The 6’11”, 210 lb center uses his length to guard the perimeter and protect the rim when needed. Not to mention, Diabate relies on his size when rebounding the basketball over smaller defenders. This type of play-style is exactly what the LA Clippers need, as they ranked 19th in the NBA in rebounds per game last season.

The addition of play-making point guard John Wall can also complement Diabate’s skill set in various ways. On the offensive end, Lue can run pick-and-rolls through Diabate, as Wall will make the right reads leading to easy baskets.

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With hopes of winning the NBA Finals, the LA Clippers will be reluctant on Diabate’s contributions. This season, the backup center position will be one of the most critical roles on the roster. Diabate will be expected to step in and showcase what he brings to the table as the LA Clippers are looking to take command in the stacked Western Conference.