Valencia pursuing NBA draft prospect Diop

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2022-06-17 07:27
Credit: Borja B. Hojas/Getty Images for Hereda San Pablo Burgos
Credit Borja B. Hojas/Getty Images for Hereda San Pablo Burgos

Valencia Basket actively pursuing the projected second-round NBA draft pick Khalifa Diop, sources tell BasketNews.

ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony listed a 20-year-old center as the potential No. 38 pick (Spurs own the pick) in his latest mock draft.

According to BasketNews sources, 2.11 m Diop is likely to be stashed after the draft (June 23), and Valencia emerged as serious contenders in a race for Gran Canaria's prospect.

"He is establishing himself as one of the most versatile defensive big men in the European game," Givony wrote in his report in February.

"Diop is as mobile and energetic a big man as you'll find in this class, tasked with putting out fires all over the floor for Gran Canaria, be it trapping opponents at half court, switching or hedging ball screens well beyond the 3-point line, helping off his man to double the post or protect the rim, or making some tremendous plays recovering from the perimeter to meet opponents at the summit," Givony added.

The Senegalese center was named the 2021-22 season EuroCup Rising Star Trophy winner.

Diop averaged 5.7 points on 58.2% two-point shooting, 3.9 rebounds, and one assist.

In the games where he spent more than 15 minutes on the floor, a promising big posted 7.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 12.6 PIR.

Diop also posted 7 points (2FG: 64.1%), 4.3 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks on average in the Spanish league.

He played a couple of his best games of the season against Valencia Basket.

Diop had his EuroCup career-high 18 points in 21 minutes in an overtime win (91-90) on February 1.

He also was 2 points shy of his highest-scoring game in Spain when his 13-point performance boosted Gran Canaria to a victory 89-83 on May 8.

Valencia officially parted ways with center Mike Tobey. Another big man Louis Labeyrie is also rumored to leave 'The Taronges.'

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