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Cheick Diallo (PF/C, NOP) - Week 18 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add In 14-Team Leagues

OWNED IN: 11% of leagues

ANALYSIS: As hard as it may be to believe as he is in the midst of his third professional basketball campaign for the New Orleans Pelicans, but 6-9 former Kansas Jayhawk Cheick Diallo is still only 22 years old. Though the native of Kayes, Mali was understandably an NBA project from the get-go, he hasn't exactly been progressing at a prodigy-like pace. His playing time and, consequently, nearly every statistic across the board has regressed in volume since his rookie campaign. This season across 39 games for New Orleans (zero as a member of the starting lineup) Diallo has managed to put up just 4.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks in a minuscule 11.0 minutes per game. Now, on the optimistic side, Diallo's efficiency thus far in 2019 has been noteworthy. He is producing a career-high figure in both two-point field goal percentage (.617) and effective field goal percentage (.607) while he attempted a three-pointer for the first time in his professional career (though he didn't convert, the diversification is the important aspect). Additionally, in terms of production per 36 minutes of play, Diallo has put up commendable averages of 14.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks.

Diallo is obviously a part of a crowded and talented crew of players in the Pelicans frontcourt that includes Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, and Jahlil Okafor, which obviously impedes his opportunity for more consistent, high-volume minutes. While former Arizona Wildcat Stanley Johnson was just dealt to New Orleans, he came in the swap for Nikola Mirotic, which has helped clear up some space for Diallo to earn additional time on the court at power forward. While it is murky at best to try and project what kind of playing time "The Brow" will occupy for the Pelicans in the near future, the greater demonstrated offensive efficiency and opportunity in the New Orleans frontcourt makes Cheick Diallo an asset of significant upside in deeper leagues as we move into the All-Star break.

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