The 2022 NBA Draft Combine has come to a close and Michigan Wolverines big man Moussa Diabate captured the attention of several NBA teams.
Diabate has until next Wednesday, June 1, to decide if he wants to stay in the draft or return to Michigan. With how much attention he’s received from nearly a dozen NBA teams, it seems more likely with each passing day he’s played in Ann Arbor for the last time.
In his freshman season, Diabate earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors after averaging 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 24.9 minutes per game while shooting 56.4% from the field and 61.9% from the free throw line.
After spending the majority of his freshman season playing the 4, the French big man tested as a center at the combine. He showcased an impressive vertical reach and having one of the lowest body fat percentages in the combine.
2022 NBA Draft Combine Vert Reach Leaders— Michael Visenberg (@NBADraftMikeyV) May 19, 2022
Center Standing Vertical Reach
1.Christian Koloko: 11’9”
2.Kofi Cockburn: 11’8”
3.Moussa Diabate: 11’6.5”
4.Michael Foster: 11’5.5”
5.Trevion Williams: 11’4”
6.Orlando Robinson: 11’2”
7.Jaylin Williams/Drew Timme: 11’1”
Lowest body fat at the 2022 NBA Combine— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 18, 2022
2.7% Moussa Diabate, Michigan
3.8% Terquavion Smith, North Carolina State
3.8% Keon Ellis, Alabama
3.8% Gabriele Procida, Fortitudo Bologna
4% Dereon Seabron, North Carolina State
Among the centers he tested with, Diabate ranked near the top in many combine drills, recording a 36.5-inch vertical leap (first among centers) and a 29-inch standing vertical leap (second). He also ranked first among the centers in lane agility time (11.16 seconds) and shuttle run (2.9 seconds), posting the second-best mark in his group in the three-quarter sprint (3.26 seconds)
His NBA appeal is obvious; while he’s a little undersized and doesn’t have much of an outside shot, he’s got a great face-up game, has improved his handle and is an extremely versatile defender.
Fans of the Michigan Wolverines loved that quality defense, and NBA scouts were fans of it at the combine. In the possession below, we see a sample of what made Diabate one of U-M’s better defenders; he could switch onto a guard and beat him to his spot, while also showing great defensive awareness and covering plenty of ground to block a dunk.
These are the type of possessions that make Moussa Diabate such as intriguing NBA prospect.— LAbound (@LAbound2) May 20, 2022
◾️Switches on to Christian Braun after the downscreen then beats him to the spot
◾️Covers 12 feet of ground to rotate over + block a shot to erase a mistake after his teammate gambles pic.twitter.com/MbVvFPsGke
Teams also love Diabate’s improved handle. If he can continue to get more comfortable with the ball in his hands, his ceiling as a pro prospect gets a whole lot higher. At Michigan, we saw flashes of what he can look like leading the fast break, running like a gazelle as defenders struggled to contain him.
MOUSSA DIABATE WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE pic.twitter.com/g8hgZEMnIU— The Dylan & Dylan Show (@DylanDylanShow) March 10, 2022
In a recent interview with Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News, Diabate said he’s had meetings with roughly 10 teams during his time at the combine, including the Denver Nuggets, the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s also worked out with the Indiana Pacers.
.@umichbball center Moussa Diabate (@M0ussaDiabate) talks about playing for Juwan Howard and how much he's grown after moving from France to the United States at a young age.#GoldOnTheClock pic.twitter.com/Gpc68bcfqe— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 13, 2022
The young big man thinks he could be a versatile spark plug who can do a lot of the dirty work for any of those teams.
“I’d say coming into a team, I feel my role I feel is going to be as an energizer,” Diabate said. “Playing defense, grabbing rebounds, running the floor. Just being athletic and communicating on the court and just being somebody that gives energy every single time.”
With how many teams have expressed interest in Diabate, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be back at Michigan for another season. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on him throughout the rest of the draft process and track his play throughout his pro career.