It’s around this time of year that players tend to come out of nowhere and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Gorgui Dieng is fitting the bill perfectly.
In today’s edition of “All Wired Up”, I’ll delve into the fantasy strengths of potential waiver wire gold like Dieng and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Dorell Wright.
» Gorgui Dieng, C, Minnesota Timberwolves (5.9 percent owned on ESPN.com)
22 points (6-16 FG, 10-11 FT), 0 three-pointers, 21 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers vs Rockets.
I think it goes without saying that the game against the Houston Rockets contained a number of career highs for Gorgui Dieng. (Sidenote: ‘goes without saying’ is an odd phrase, because it is invariably followed the exact statement which should have gone without saying).
Dieng, who was the 21st pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, has been a revelation since starting at center for an injured Nikola Pekovic. That is definitely not a sentence I thought I’d be writing at any stage this season.
Pekovic has struggled over the last six weeks with ankle injuries — in fact he’s had ankle injuries over the course of his entire NBA career. After missing 13 games in late January-February, Pekovic returned to the court on March 1st and played the next seven games without any issue. But following his last game on Friday against Charlotte, Pekovic as seen icing his ankle heavily and it later came out he was still having trouble with the injury that had bothered him earlier this year.
Consequently, Pekovic has missed the past three games.
Enter Gorgui Dieng.
The only way to describe what Dieng has done is his first three career starts is outstanding. He’s averaged 14.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks in those starts and has shot 57.1 percent from the field. He’s also only had one turnover combined in the three games. Those numbers rank him number 15 overall since March 16th on Basketball Monster.com.
The only doubt that comes into whether you should add Dieng to your roster is what happens when Pekovic returns. Pekovic will clearly be the starter when and if he returns to the lineup. But with Pekovic’s checkered injury history, that return may not happen this weekend, it may not happen next week — heck, it may not happen at all this season.
I think Dieng gets at least one more start, but there is a massive possibility, he is the starter for the next week. Even if he starts only one more game, I think you need to add Dieng in most, if not all leagues, for his ability to put up matchup changing lines.