Why Diabaté’s emergence brings the Clippers to another level

Moussa Diabaté, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Moussa Diabaté, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /

Throughout the first 20 games of the year, head coach Tyronn Lue and the LA Clippers were without an established backup center. This is one of the reasons why the team currently stands at ten losses. After Lue played the glass-cleaning big, Moses Brown, it became clear that he was not the long-term answer. However, his potential is exceptionally high.

That said, Lue proved, once again, why he is one of the NBA’s best head coaches. Clipper fans were questioning why the second-round pick, Moussa Diabaté, was not receiving playing time in the primary rotation. Lue waited until Diabaté found a rhythm in the G-League, so his confidence would be at an all-time high when he played quality minutes.

Though Diabaté has only played ‘real’ minutes twice this season, he has shown that he is too talented for the G-League. His hustle and motor on both ends of the floor is something the Clippers’ bench has been missing all year. Additionally, Lue’s small-ball lineup will not work against every team. Therefore Diabaté’s presence in the paint will make the game plan much easier for the LA Clippers.

Moreover, one aspect of Diabaté’s game that significantly boosts the LA Clippers is his rebounding on the offensive end. Over the last two games, he is averaging four offensive rebounds per game. This creates extra opportunities for the Clippers to move the ball and get a bucket.

Now that the LA Clippers have a solidified backup center, they will be dangerous once fully healthy.

Following trade rumors at the center position, the LA Clippers can hang up the phone as their answer stands with the two-way big Moussa Diabaté. His athleticism fits perfectly next to the play-making point guard John Wall, primarily through the pick-and-roll. Once the chemistry fully develops, there is no stopping the Clippers’ bench.

Furthermore, Diabaté’s numbers through the last two games add to how strong his impact has been. He has posted seven points per game and six rebounds while shooting 55.6% from the field in only 14 minutes. Following these two performances, Lue mentioned that even when the Clippers attain total health, Diabaté will still receive quality playing time.

While his numbers may look great, his defensive capacities elevate the Clippers’ overall scheme. Not only can Diabaté switch to guard any position, but he is also a great rim protector in the painted area. The LA Clippers have not had a player like this throughout the last few seasons. Although he may be a rookie, feeding Diabaté minutes is one of the keys to the team’s success.

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Nonetheless, it is safe to say that the LA Clippers’ ceiling is through the roof with Diabaté in the rotation. Lue and the front office may have struck gold once again, as Diabaté has the potential to be the steal of the draft. His contributions on both ends of the court will be pivotal as the season continues for the Clippers.