New Detroit Pistons wing Hamidou Diallo: 3 things to know

The stalwarts of the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder rosters were swapped for each other on Friday.

Detroit sent Svi Mykhailiuk, the longest-serving member of the team in (parts of) three seasons, and a future round two election for Hamidou Diallo, the longest-serving member of the team in three seasons, to Oklahoma City. How will the cities recover from the loss of such mainstays?

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In all seriousness, the trade makes sense for both teams. The Thunder are easy at 3-point shooting (34% as a team; third worst in the league) and that is Myhailiuk’s calling card, even if he’s had problems lately (33.3% this season; 36.9 for his career ).

The pistons, meanwhile, throw a better defender and athlete into the rotation. Detroit doesn’t exactly want wings with Jerami Grant, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Wayne Ellington, and Sekou Doumbaya, all of whom are seeing floor time in some ways, but at 22, Diallo is an exciting prospect to add to that bunch.

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Count Troy Weaver as a fan

Piston fans may not be aware of Diallo – a constantly improving player but by no means a star – but the team’s front office certainly is. Detroit’s general manager Troy Weaver was part of the brain trust that brought Diallo to Oklahoma City in 2018.

When Diallo was voted No. 45 on the draft for 2018 by the Brooklyn Nets, OKC acted for his rights and signed it the next month. Weaver was the Vice President / Deputy General Manager of Thunder at the time. He served as vice president of basketball operations next season before assuming his current role with the Pistons.

Myhailiuk was drafted two picks into Diallo by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018.

Hamidou Diallo gets his money’s worth

Reportedly, the Thunder was fine when Diallo, a restricted free agent that off-season, moved on because of the arrival of Luguentz there. While that makes Diallo sound like a castoff, he’s actually enjoying the best season of his young NBA career.

From late January to mid-February, he scored 15 or more points in eight games in a row.

Diallo, 6ft5 with a wingspan of 7ft, averages highs in points (11.9 per game), rebounds (5.2), assists (2.4), and field goal percentages (48.1%) while making more shots (9.3) and playing more minutes (23.8). His player efficiency rating is 15.1 – exactly the league average and above piston wings like Jackson, Bey and Wayne Wellington.

Another slam dunk champion joins the Pistons

Dennis Smith Jr. Blake Griffin. Now Diallo.

The Pistons have made the trend over the past few seasons of earning high-flyers with Slam Dunk Contest titles on their coats, and Diallo is as bouncy as anyone. He was a five-star signatory in Kentucky, partly because of his long, athletic frame and enormous vertical jump. This sportiness is also the reason why he only spent one season with the Wildcats.

Diallo recorded a 44.5-inch jump at the 2017 NBA Scouting Combine, the second highest jump in event history at the time. That ability manifested itself in a 2019 slam dunk contest championship in which Diallo defeated Shaquille O’Neal and received a no-alley throw from rapper Quavo, who knows a thing or two on the subject.

You don’t want the pistons to come down the place with Saben Lee, Smith or Diallo on a fast break.

Follow the Free Press on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @TDavisFreep.

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