The Atlanta Hawks signed Gorgui Dieng last offseason potentially as a reaction to the news that Onyeka Okongwu was going to miss extended time leading into last season. The signing also had playoff implications given that the Hawks had recently finished a playoff series where they narrowly beat the beast that is Joel Embiid.
The problem was, despite Dieng’s solid defensive skills and ability to shoot the 3-ball, he dropped out of the Hawks rotations. The reason for this is the Hawk’s game style does not suit the way that Dieng plays the game.
He is more comfortable taking shots from behind the 3-point line than getting into the pick and roll. The Hawks are at their best when Trae Young is creating havoc in the mismatches and confusion caused by basketball’s most simple, yet effective play.
The Atlanta Hawks need to find a better option for their third-string center.
Dieng did not see much court time this season, even during the Covid-19 crisis when the Hawks were down so many players, at every position in the rotation. This shows just how much he was unable to fit in.
Dieng was signed to a $4.0 million single-season deal where he played 44 games, starting three of them. He averaged 3.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 8.4 minutes per game. He was efficient in his time on the floor, going 47.3 percent from the floor, 42.6 percent from the 3-point line, and 73.1 percent from the free-throw line.
While these numbers look good, his fit within the team was the issue. Winning basketball is about chemistry and Dieng was never able to develop that with the team. There is no question that he will get a contract again next year but it will not be with the Hawks.
They should definitely pass on Dieng, given how tight they are going to be strapped under the salary cap for next season. The Hawks cannot afford to have many players watching for the whole season the way Dieng did this season.