The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season is over, which means it’s time to start assessing how each player on the roster performed this year. So far in this series, we looked at Aaron Brooks, Marcus Georges-Hunt, Nemanja Bjelica and Cole Aldrich’s performances. Up next is Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng played pretty well during the 2016-17 season. He started beside Karl-Anthony Towns and averaged 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal. In addition, he had an effective field goal percentage of 51.4 percent.
With the signing of Taj Gibson, it was expected that Dieng would no longer be in the starting lineup.
Dieng did in fact play far fewer minutes this year. He became the Wolves’ backup center, and the position did not seem to suit him.
Dieng struggled to shoot the ball and had a hard time providing good defense. Part of the problem, of course, was that the Wolves’ largely disastrous bench unit was an environment conducive to failure. Due to Tom Thibodeau’s habit of playing his reserves spotty minutes, Dieng seemed unable to get into a rhythm.
Like nearly all of the Wolves bench players, Dieng’s best game this season came in March against the Philadelphia 76ers. He was a crucial part of the rag-tag team that made up 21 points before being taken out of the game.
Dieng had 15 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks, a steal and an assist in the contest. He also shot 50 percent from the field. Despite playing 26 minutes in a 12-point blowout, Dieng was a plus-six for the game.
Perhaps Dieng’s greatest single moment came in a loss to Houston Rockets. The game spiraled out of control, and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, it looked like a blowout. However, Dieng managed to initiate the altercation that lead to the ejection of Gerald Green.
Gorgui Dieng pushes Chris Paul and then Gerald Green pushes Dieng into the first row. pic.twitter.com/PLn9qzRQkR— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 19, 2018
The usually-quiet crowd in the Target Center rose to their feet amid chants of “Gor-gui! Gor-gui!” Though in the end, the Wolves would lose, Dieng’s fire lead to an improbable comeback.
Mathematically, Dieng season was a mess. Per Cleaning the Glass, 53 percent of his shots were from mid-range, which puts him in the 95th percentile for bigs. The modern NBA is not a place where one can thrive on long two’s.
Reason #3,561 why the dual responsibility of coaching and making personnel decisions is a bad idea: Gorgui Dieng is set to make $15 million dollars next season, nearly a million dollars per minute he averaged during the season.— Alex West (@AlexWestNBA) May 13, 2018
In addition, the majority of his 3-point attempts were from the corner. However, he only shot 31 percent there, putting him in the 21st percentile among other big men.
His percentage at the rim also dropped to just 59 percent this year. For a center, inefficiency from point-blank range is really, really bad.
Dieng lacks athleticism, passing ability, and defensive skills. Without efficient shooting, he doesn’t really have much relevance in the league.
Dieng signed a four-year, $62 million contract with Minnesota. It’s unlikely that any other team would be willing to take on this massive amount of money, so expect to see Dieng in a Wolves uniform next year.