Apr 12, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng (5) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Gorgui Dieng is coming off an excellent season where he was asked to play an increased role for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Minnesota Timberwolves received quality production out of Gorgui Dieng this season. He was asked to play more minutes than he ever has during his career. While Dieng is not the long-term solution at power forward for the Timberwolves, what he accomplished this season is very positive for the 27-year-old out of the University of Louisville.
Looking back, Dieng made an impact for the Timberwolves immediately after he joined the team his rookie year. That season he averaged 4.8 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. He even started in 15 games during his rookie campaign. The past three seasons Dieng has been very consistent for the Timberwolves in points and rebounds.
This season Gorgui Dieng played in all 82 games for the Wolves. Furthermore he started in every single one of those games. He gave the Wolves his best every night playing an increased load over the season.
Dieng rated as the sixth-best player on the team this season even though he was one of three players to start every game. He actually finished 20th in the NBA for most minutes played during the season.
Gorgui Dieng worked hard to elevate his game. You can see that by looking at how much he improved his three-point shot over his career. This season he shot 37 percent from three, which is the highest of his career minus his rookie season when he made the only three-pointer he took. He shot 43 times from three this season, which shows he is much more comfortable taking that shot.
Dieng averaged 10.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game this season. Neither of those are career highs, but they are consistent and decent numbers for a starting big. It would have been ideal to see those numbers increase on a year when he started all 82 games and played the 20th most minutes in the NBA.
Role heading into next season
Dieng is not the long-term answer for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ at starting power forward. This is a position the Wolves must upgrade as they look to start a new era. The Wolves have the ability to make that happen this upcoming offseason through trades, the draft and free agency.
With that being said, Gorgui Dieng will be an excellent first man off the bench next season. He is a consistent scorer and rebounder. Providing that off the bench is exactly what the Wolves need because they currently have one of the worst bench rosters in the NBA.
Dieng will likely see a decrease in minutes next season. It will be a huge win if he produces the same numbers for the Wolves playing less minutes and coming off the bench.
In conclusion, Gorgui Dieng had a pretty good season. He was asked to start all 82 games and gave it his all every night for the Minnesota Timberwolves. At the end of the day he just isn’t the solution to start at power forward for the Wolves. Because of that, the team will likely upgrade the position this offseason. Look for Dieng to come off the bench next season and have a great year as the Timberwolves’ sixth man.