Timberwolves assistant Pablo Prigioni says he wouldn’t ‘want to guard’ Keita Bates-Diop
Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Pablo Prigioni has been impressed with sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop.
Prigioni claimed that Bates-Diop’s mobility and varied skill set could be a serious threat if the Timberwolves decide to use him in a small-ball lineup.
“It’s hard to guard a five being that dynamic…He can pop, he can shoot, pump fake, get downhill. I don’t want to guard him.”- @Timberwolves assistant coach Pablo Prigioni on second year player @KBD_33 pic.twitter.com/WdlYwy6kjX
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) July 24, 2019
Bates-Diop is only 6-foot-9, which is pretty undersized for a center. However, today’s NBA allows for smaller lineups to be utilized more and more as the league shifts to positionless basketball. There will be plenty of opportunities for the Ohio State product to play at five in the upcoming season.
Bates-Diop enters his second season after a relatively underwhelming rookie campaign. After being picked 48th overall in the 2018 draft, he played in only 31 games for Minnesota. In 16 minutes a game, he averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds.
The lanky big man played for four years at Ohio State, and Minnesota selected him knowing his ceiling would not be sky-high. However, he could still develop into a solid bench piece and possible back up for Jordan Bell or Robert Covington, depending on who the Timberwolves decide to start at the four spot.
Minnesota is currently not looking like a serious playoff contender, meaning the team has time to develop its young talent. Thankfully for Bates-Diop, that means he can continue to improve his game this year and play through some mistakes.