Cheick Diallo was a one-and-done prospect drafted in 2016 after playing one injury-plagued year at Kansas. He is a 6’9” power forward who has the mannerisms but lacks the size of a center. There are a couple of reasons that he’d fit well with the Wizards.
First and foremost, Diallo is just 22 years old, but already has three years of experience in the league. For what it’s worth, he also played and practiced with Anthony Davis, arguably the best power forward in the league.
When he gets the chance to play, he is extremely efficient on the court. In his limited playing time, he’s averaged 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game. He also had an excellent 17.5 Player Efficiency Rating last season.
What Diallo can bring to the Wizards is a very strong rebounder and an efficient interior scorer. In 4.2 attempts per game from inside the arc, Diallo shot 62.5 percent. He also has lots of room for improvement and already has the undersized rebounding ability of a younger Paul Millsap. He has the same interior touch but has not been able to stretch his game toward the 3-point line as Millsap has.
In his three years with the New Orleans Pelicans, Diallo did not get much playing time. They did not extend a qualifying offer and made him an unrestricted free agent. Since he was a second round draft pick, he did not have a large contract attached to him and therefore will not be asking for much money. He may see a small increase from the $1.5 million he received last season but not much more.
One player who is similar to Diallo but is slightly more proven and therefore may be more expensive on the free agent market is center Ivica Zubac, who ended last season with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Zubac, a second round selection, moved from one L.A. team to another this season at the trade deadline, but his 18.9 PER last season has to be snuck into this list.
The Bosnian is a restricted free agent whose qualifying offer is worth just $1.9 million. He was a second round pick and will not be worth too much on the market either.
Neither player shoots the 3-ball, but both are young interior players who could learn from Dwight Howard for the next few years and potentially step into a larger role with the team.