NBA Hype vs NBL Reality: Ousmane Dieng

Ousmane Dieng in recent games has proved his NBA Potential, but can he fully make the jump to the association? (Photo: New Zealand Breakers)

In the NBL, we always hear about the “NBA Potential” of players that come to the league. We have seen this with LaMelo Ball, RJ Hampton and more recently Josh Giddey. While players like these have now set themselves up for a successful career in the association, some others like Brian Bowen II and Terry Armstrong have not had the same impact.

In this series, we will explore some current NBL players and their NBA credentials, to see if they will have an NBA career like some of the aforementioned “Next Stars”.

NBA Hype vs NBL Reality Series

Justinian Jessup

Hugo Besson

Today’s player of discussion;

Ousmane Dieng

A 6’10 French wing, Ousmane Dieng is this draft’s ‘unicorn’. A guy with tons of potential that has not until recently, shown the talent to be an NBA player.

The 18-year-old signed with the New Zealand Breakers on a ‘Next Star’ deal for the 2022 NBL season. At the time, the signing was heralded as an incredible acquisition not only for the Breakers, but for the NBL and their ‘Next Stars’ program.

In the early stages of the season he struggled to adapt to the physicality of the league. Often being benched for long stretches, and when he was on the court he didn’t provide much of a spark for the Breakers.

However, that has all changed in the past three games. Coming back from a wrist injury, Dieng has been nothing but exceptional.

In those three games, he was averaging 16 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 three’s made per game.

Over the full season, he is currently averaging 6.6 points and 2.9 rebounds on 30 percent shooting from the field and 21.7 percent shooting from the three.

Why he will be in the NBA

Size and Versatility

Dieng is one of the tallest players in the NBL. Recently being reported at 6’11, Dieng is a guard with the height of a centre. He has drawn comparisons to Brooklyn Nets’ star Kevin Durant for a reason. He can potentially play and guard all five positions.


Potential is a double-edged sword. Something that can bare great success but can also be something of great consequence.

Dieng is going to be drafted solely on potential. He is an NBA scouts dream player. A 6’10-11 wing with guard like abilities, with a huge wingspan, who can shoot the three and is athletic. He can be anything and can do everything.

While there are major issues with his game currently, they can hopefully be resolved with time.

Why he will not be in the NBA

Lack of on-court production

Until recently, Dieng didn’t show much in the early stages of the season. Failing to hit wide open three’s which was a strength to his game before joining the Breakers. Often throwing costly turnovers and mostly being seen as a negative whenever he was on the court.

He wasn’t putting numbers on the box score but somehow continued to climb the draft board.

He was also struggling on;


For a long time, he had the worst defensive rating in the league and for a guy that is 6’10 that should be a ‘lottery lock’, that was a very ugly stat to have.

He couldn’t cut passing lanes and whenever he was guarding on-ball, he couldn’t keep up with the guards and he couldn’t defend in the post on the forwards.

He has looked a whole lot better in recent performances but he still doesn’t have a great defensive game.

Crystal Ball

Dieng should be a first-round draft pick. Due to the hype and the potential alone he will be picked up in the lottery to the late first round.

Even though there have been prospects having better seasons than him, he will be drafted high because of his potential.

Whether or not he succeeds, that is another story.

*This was written and posted before the Breakers take on the 36ers*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *