They didn’t make any splashes at the trade deadline but the San Antonio Spurs quietly pulled off an excellent move in the buyout market with their reported acquisition of former Memphis Grizzlies big man, Gorgui Dieng. In typical Spurs fashion, this move came out nowhere.
There weren’t any rumblings of Dieng being a Spurs target before Marc Stein was the first to report that he was going to sign with the Spurs. The most under-the-radar franchise in the league does it again, securing a great addition to their frontcourt.
This isn’t a move that drastically changes the trajectory of this Spurs team but Dieng brings a lot of what the Spurs need right now. Here is a look at how their rotation is likely to change with him in the mix.
Gorgui Dieng likely to own San Antonio Spurs back up center role
Pour one out for Drew Eubanks as he looks like the Spur who is most likely to see his minutes shrink after the addition of Dieng. Respect to Drew, he’s been a solid backup center for San Antonio this year. But he doesn’t bring the floor spacing that Dieng does and that’s what the Spurs need most right now.
Throughout the season we’ve seen defenses pack the paint in an effort to slow down the Spurs slashers from getting to the rim. And without reliable three-point shooting to punish this strategy, the Spurs offense has struggled at times. This is where Dieng is really going to help San Antonio.
Unless you’re a die-hard Memphis Grizzlies fan, you’ve probably missed out on the fact that Dieng is quietly hitting almost 48 percent of his three-point shots this season. That’s an incredible figure for a player who had all but ignored that part of the game until a season ago.
Dieng can bring what we had hoped to get from LaMarcus Aldridge. He’s not going to have plays called for him but the threat of his three-point shot should keep him on the floor and spread out opposing defenses, making life easier for players such as DeMar DeRozan.
He’s not supplanting anyone in the starting lineup but look for Dieng to get around 15 minutes a game in a back-up role to Jakob Poeltl. He should be a nice addition to a second unit that was already one of the best in the NBA this season.
If all goes smoothly we could see Dieng take the floor for the San Antonio Spurs within the week. We’ll hold off on a deep dive on his fit with the Spurs until we see how he plays with the guys but right now this looks like a low-risk, high reward move for San Antonio.