Thunder's Potential Draft Picks: Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Thunder's Potential Draft Picks: Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng

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Mason Plumlee

Power Forward/Center

Senior, Duke

23 years old

Play style comparisons: Robin Lopez, Tiago Splitter


Plumlee is exactly what you'd expect from a guy who played for four years under Mike Krzyzewski. He plays hard, never backs down and has a very high basketball IQ. Plumlee is a muscular 7 feet with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and can run the floor like a cat. He is also perhaps the most athletic big in the draft (Nerlens Noel might argue that) and is always good for a spectacular dunk or two every night. As you would expect from his physical attributes, he can block shots and rebound at a high level. The biggest area Plumlee improved in his days at Duke was his offense. He couldn't throw a beach ball into the ocean as a freshman, but left Durham with a solid array of post moves including an affective baby hook shot.


He's still got things he needs to improve offensively. To play in today's NBA, you've got to be able to knock down the open 15-18-footer, and Plumlee will struggle with that. He also struggles defensively at times, especially against bigger opponents. Alex Len flat-out beat him up and took his lunch money in Duke's battles with Maryland last season. Plumlee struggled mightily to get his shot off against the longer Len, something that doesn't bode well for the NBA where everyone's bigger.

How he could help OKC:

This guy understands how to play the game. He would jump into the Thunder's rotation as the new backup center, replacing Hasheem Thabeet. His speed and athleticism would fit well with an OKC team that loves to play a NASCAR-style pace. In other words, he could contribute as an energy/hustle/rebound guy while not slowing the team down.


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Gorgui Dieng

Power Forward/Center

Junior, Louisville

23 years old

Play style comparisons: Emeka Okafor, Larry Sanders


If your team needs a big guy to join its rotation, this dude is one of the safest bets in this entire draft.  Dieng is 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan.  He moves very well, has solid athleticism and has elite defensive instincts.  He can block shots in the isolation or from the help side, rebound and usually makes the right call of whether to go for the blocked shot or stay home and box out.  Dieng is limited offensively but has a solid baby hook in the paint area.  He may not ever be a star, but there's a very small chance he'll be a bust.    


At 23 years old, his upside isn't ideal.  Top picks in the NBA Draft nowadays tend to be 19-20 years old with elite athleticism.  With that said, Dieng still has areas in which he can improve.  Specifically, he needs to work on adding bulk and improving his jump shot.  His current 230 pounds is light for a potential NBA center, and while his jumper isn't bad, he rarely pulls the trigger.  For someone without an elite arsenal of post moves, the ability to hit a 12-foot jumper will be crucial.   

How he could help OKC:

Dieng is a mid-first-round pick, so unless the Thunder trades down, the Louisville product will likely land elsewhere.  But if OKC wants to drop a few spots, the value would be there in the late teens.  Dieng would become Kendrick Perkins' protégé at the center position and would eventually have a shot to beat out Perk for the starting job.   

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