1870 Mag

Keita Bates-Diop Drafted by the Timberwolves

In case you missed it, the NBA Draft was tonight, and Keita Bates-Diop was gathering some serious attention from NBA teams on account of his crazy athleticism and versatility. After 47 picks, KBD’s name was called, and he went 48th overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Keita Bates-Diop played three full seasons at Ohio State two under Thad Matta and one under Chris Holtmann — and had one season cut short by a stress fracture in his leg. Most recently, he was named Big Ten Player of the Year en route to leading the Buckeyes back to the NCAA Tournament. He was also on the First Team All-Big Ten, among many other honors

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How Bates-Diop’s NBA career will play out is yet to be seen, but if it’s anything like what he did last season on the court, then Buckeye fans will be watching him in the Association for a long time to come.

Bates-Diop joins a talented, if young, Timberwolves core anchored by Kentucky product Karl-Anthony Towns and former Kansas Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins. Jimmy Butler is another star on the team coached by Tom Thibodeau, who has a rapport for pushing his players to play lots of minutes. Given Bates-Diop’s injury history, that could be a bump in the road, but if he’s able to stay healthy, there’s every reason to believe he could be a valuable rotation piece for the Wolves, who will likely be looking to make a deep run into the playoffs as soon as next season.

In today’s NBA, the presence of an athletic defender who can transition between guarding quick guards and brutish bigs is as important as ever, and, at least from what we’ve seen, that seems to be something KBD excels at. Bates-Diop is listed as a forward on the Timberwolves’ roster on NBA.com, but it will be interesting to see how he can play as a large 2-guard or as a power forward in small-ball lineups. If his three-point shooting continues to improve, he could turn into one of the steals of the NBA draft.

Photo Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics/Twitter.

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