The San Antonio Spurs have a definite need at center that they may elect to address via the draft. An intriguing player that they should think about selecting if available at 29 is Diamond Stone.
First of all, with a name like that, the odds of him being a bust are minuscule. Is it possible to have the best name in the NBA before playing a single minute?
Stone stands at 6’10’’ and weighs 255 LBS. He can play either power forward or center. If he’s projected by the Spurs to be an eventual starter for them, it helps that their current power forward LaMarcus Aldridge also has the versatility to slide over to center if they feel as though Stone fits in better as a power forward.
Stone was a McDonald’s All American in 2015, and averaged 12.5 points per game in his 1 season at Maryland. He shot nearly 57% from the field, grabbed 5.4 rebounds per game, and also averaged 1.6 blocks per game.
He’s still raw, but is decently athletic for a player his size. His 7’3’’ wingspan helps him as a rim protector, and he is very powerful in terms of guarding players in the interior.
On offense, he’s a great inside scorer, and operates fantastically well as a back-to-the-basket scoring threat. He has a wide array of post moves to frustrate defenders.
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A blatant weakness he has is passing. He only averaged 0.4 assists per game at Maryland, and often looks to go to work inside whenever he’s fed the ball. It’s a great mindset if he’s dominating his man inside, but can also result in ill-advised shots if he fails to get the upper-hand in a matchup.
Right now, Stone isn’t an effective scorer outside the paint, and doesn’t have the range to drag his defender out to the perimeter. In the short term, a team will have to accept Stone as primarily a low-post scoring option.
Another concerning aspect to Stone’s game is that he doesn’t appear to be a great rebounder for his size. His rebounding production at Maryland was underwhelming compared to other centers in this class.
He’s a solid on-ball defender, but lacks the instincts to provide effective help defense. This is a trait that can be taught at the NBA level within a proficient system, though.
Stone looks like the mold of a center from a past era of the NBA. He doesn’t provide diverse offensive skills like midrange shooting or nifty passing, and instead serves as mainly an inside scoring threat with great post moves.
He has his flaws, but in a half-court setting he could showcase his interior scoring abilities. He’ll have to become a better passer to reach his full potential in a Spurs’ offense predicated on ball movement, but his talent as an inside scorer certainly makes him an intriguing option for the Spurs to look at.
His defense has flashes of potential, but he’ll have to work on his off-ball instincts to thrive at the next level.