After selecting Josh Okogie with the 20th overall pick, the Wolves used their other draft pick on Thursday night to select Bates-Diop, the 22-year old Buckeye. Projected by many to be a late first rounder, Bates-Diop slid for most of the evening due to a combination of injury history (suffered a stress fracture in his left leg in 2017) and age (turns 23 in January).
Standing 6’9” and weighing 224 pounds, sporting a 7’4” wingspan (drink!), the Ohio State senior possesses the physical traits to be a combo forward in the NBA who can space the floor and defend multiple positions. Bates-Diop finished his final year in Columbus by averaging 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks, earning him the Big 10 Player of the Year award.
For me personally, I think this is a home run pick (especially considering the spot he was selected at). As mentioned above, Bates-Diop was pegged throughout the draft process as a late first rounder, so this was clearly a value pick by the front office. While the injury red flags can’t be ignored, Bates-Diop presents too much upside at the next level and is another live body that helps fill a massive need for the franchise - wings off the bench who can score/defend.
Much like Okogie, will Bates-Diop be able to actually see the floor under Thibs? Only time will tell. But his high basketball IQ, ability to guard multiple positions, and high release point with his jump shot translate to a player worth taking the risk on, especially with the 48th pick in the draft.
Overall, it appears for now that the Wolves came out of the evening with two useful, talented players that can produce right away. The Wolves already have their entrees, but were in desperate need of some strong side dishes. Although it’s still June, it appears like the franchise is starting to build a solid menu.