The Los Angeles Clippers had the No.33 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft and selected Cheick Diallo. His draft rights were acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the draft rights of David Michineau (France) and Diamond Stone (Maryland). Diallo was a one-and-done player out of the University of Kansas. The 6-9 218-pound player played his high school ball in Centereach, N.Y. at Our Savior New American High School where he got noticed by college scouts. He was born in Mali in 1996. He began playing basketball in 2010 and arrived in the United States to play basketball in 2012.
He averaged 16.2 points per and 7.1 rebounds at Our Savior. He has a barrage of awards for excellence and domination of the sport. In 2015, He was the MVP of the McDonals’s All-American game and Jordan Classic, two prominent games featuring high school’s best players. He was the New York Gatorade Player of the year in 2014 and 2015. He also earned Parade All-American First Team and USA TODAY’S All-USA Second Team in 2015.
In his Freshman season at Kansas, He really didn’t do much. He played 27 games, only got on the court 7.5 minutes a game and averaged 3 points, 3 rebounds and a block. His upside and ability to score and rebound at Our Savior along the slew of awards he earned may have been the true reason for getting drafted.
The Pelicans had a solid draft with only two picks. Veteran guard Eric Gordon is testing free agency and may find another team. With the 7th overall pick, they selected Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma who is an athletic sharpshooter. He averaged 25 points a game last year which was 2nd in the NCAA and was shot the ball from beyond the arc at 46% which was 20th in the nation. Diallo would be a fantastic acquisition for the frontcourt alongside Anthony Davis. They can both rebound, have an inside presence and block shots around the basket.
They are a team with playoff potential if they stay healthy. The Pelicans centerpiece, Davis, missed 61 games last year because of multiple injuries.
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