A top 15 recruit out of high school and a Big 10 All-Freshman member, Moussa Diabate had an awkward freshman year, not being able to display his whole skillset. On the year, Diabate averaged 9 PPG, 6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.9 BPG, and 1.5 TOPG on shooting splits of 54/21/62. Below is his scouting report:
Name: Moussa Diabate
Wingspan/ standing reach:7’2 ½ / 9’1 ½
Hand size: 10 ½
Pre-Draft team: Michigan
Tools: Athelticism, P&R, energy/motor
- Moves his feet well laterally
- Runs the floor well
- Finishes above the rim with consistency; good finisher
- Skilled post game with good hook shot
- Good rebounder
- Skilled as P&R roll man
- Good help-side shot blocker; can suffocate/smother shots at the rim
- Needs to improve fluidity of guide hand in jumper
- Doesn’t use his left hand
- Defensive discipline
- Uncomfortable shooting off the dribble
Moussa Diabate is a mobile big man with potential to have two-way versatility.
Defensively, Diabate has some hidden upside that doesn’t show up in his underwhelming defensive stats. Playing with another big man often, Diabate wasn’t always in position to get blocks unless he was the primary help defender. While Diabate is good at help-side defense, his shot-blocking and overall defensive ability on perimeter-oriented plays can still be unlocked in the NBA. With plus lateral quickness for his size, Diabate should become a positive defender in the NBA with the tools he has. This lateral speed allows him to switch onto guards and not be a liability, which in of itself is a major strength in today’s NBA. The main obstacles for Diabate to overcome defensively are generally rooted in discipline and mastering defensive schemes.
Offensively, Diabate has upside as a scorer. As a finisher, Diabate dunks anything he can, and is an overall good finisher at the rim, despite right hand dominance. His best finishing comes off of P&R sets, where he can dive to the basket and use his frame + athleticism combo to win over defenses. The two areas Diabate has to improve on to polish his offensive game are shooting and playmaking. Because of his quickness up and down the floor, finishing at the rim, and shot-blocking ability, Diabate can be considered an energy big.
As a shooter, Diabate is confident and willing; however, he still has a ways to go in turning the confidence into positive results. With an awkward shooting motion and abandoning the guide hand, his form is still far from polished. He has shown some ability to shoot mid range jumpers, so if he can expand his range to the 3 point line enough to be respected, he will become a threat in both the pick & roll and pick & pop. With a 62 FT%, Diabate’s shooting projection is difficult to predict.
Lastly, Diabate is not much of a playmaker, often being slow to react to defenses, and missing open teammates in time. As long as this playmaking weakness does not turn into a turnover issue, this should be a minor weakness.
Overall, Diabate poses intriguing upside as a versatile big man on both ends. Despite being 20 years old already as a freshman, there are realistic paths to improvement for Diabate in the NBA, but he will need the right team.
- Toronto Raptors (33)
- Dallas Mavericks (trade down from 26)
- LA Clippers (43)
- Atlanta Hawks (44)
Similar to: Skal Labissiere, Justin Patton
Projected draft range: 26-51
Expected role: Mobile energy big with finishing ability and defensive upside.
Unplayable if: Jump shooting doesn’t develop into a reliable threat, and foul trouble/defensive discipline doesn’t get ironed out.
Exceeds expectations if: He turns raw talent into reliable skills and useful in-game growth.