Bobcats Top to Bottom: DeSagana Diop


Man, I hate looking up how to spell names!  First two guys and I’m having trouble writing the title already!  You know why I, a reputed blogger focused on the Charlotte Bobcats, am having a hard time spelling Joel Przybilla and DeSagana Diop’s names?  BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO WARRANT ME SPELLING THEIR NAMES TO THIS POINT!

For cryin out loud!  The most interesting thing to me about DeSagana Diop is that we share the same birth-date.  We are exactly the same age.  That’s interesting to me and just me, I can’t imagine what you poor souls that typed his name into Google and landed here must be looking for.

Here are the numbers:
Career: 14.2 minutes per game, 55.2 games per year, 2.1 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per and 1.1 blocks
Last season:  16 games (total, no for real, it’s 16 games), 11.3 mpg, 1.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, .9 bpg

He scored zero in almost half of those 16 games.  What blows my mind is that he signed a 6 year $32 million deal in Dallas in 2008 and when it didn’t work out for them, they unloaded him onto us for Matty Carroll and Ryan Hollins and when Matty didn’t work out for them, they sent him back with a bucket of hammers for a one year rental of Tyson Chandler followed by years of financial freedom from such burdens as a center who doesn’t play ($5.333 million per year for 6 years) and a shooter who rarely sees the floor ($4.5 million per year for 6 years).  Lucky us.

Actually, I’m exaggerating.  He wasn’t unloaded on us so much as Larry Brown liked him and said “I NEED SIZE!  I CAN’T WIN WITH WHAT YOU’VE GIVEN ME!”  Mike Cranston, being the nice guy he is, especially at the time with Larry Brown here, called it “tinkering” with the roster.  He saw an unathletic back-up #2 and a 7′ sophomore that wasn’t cutting it and went out and got one guy that wasn’t cutting it.  All that is jumping ahead in the story though.

Diop’s history can be summed up in a couple phrases:  size; coming up in big spots.  That’s about all the guy brings to the table.  He has 6 fouls just like everybody else on the floor and he’ll swat a few and play some solid defense if his feet don’t get tangled.  That’s about it.  He helped Dallas immensely, taking the burden off of Dirk Nowitzki on defense and well, I’m assuming he did something on the offensive end in their playoff runs and big win totalling regular seasons.  Why else would Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban sign him to a big contract?  He’s never ever ever played that well.  The high water marks on this guy are 3 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game and 1.8 blocks per game.

He came into the league out of Oak Hill Academy, famous for turning basketball boys into men.  He was part of that same draft class as Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, 4 High School players drafted in the top 8.  “Upside” and “you can’t teach size” and all that were bandied about when Cleveland took him.  He sat, rotted there, but was picked up by Dallas where he was considered “serviceable” in his back-up role, until Erick Dampier went out he stepped up and helped them that year they made it to the finals.  Rewarded, I guess, for that play, he was traded to New Jersey but then resigned in the off-season in Dallas.

I didn’t understand the trade when it went down, I don’t understand it to this day.  All I can figure is what I said above about Larry saying “I need more size” and all that damn tinkering.  He came in and did alright in relief of Okafor back in 2008/2009.  2009/2010 however, I’m not sure what he did but he was DNP-CD a whole lot.  I don’t recall a major injury, I think the guy just didn’t “play the right way” or something.  Anyway, back to rotting on the bench, until Paul Silas came in.

Coach Silas gave guys who weren’t getting chances but that were scrappy and supposedly talented a chance to play.  Something had to change after the 9-19 start and all of Larry Brown’s negativity.  So Diop saw more playing time around Coach Silas’s hire and damn if the dude didn’t see time in three games in 5 days and his achilles ruptured.  Some people can’t sit for that long and then go hard, especially 7′ dudes that have played in 9 NBA seasons.

The best moment ever for Diop in Charlotte, sadly, was a really touching one but for horrible reasons.  Diop is a notoriously bad free throw shooter.  His career average is .473 but his time in Charlotte he’s been 16 of 57 .281 percent.  So he was at the line chucking them up in one game where he’d had 4 or 6 attempts and he had just lofted an air-ball, so the opposing team started playing hack-a-Diop, as they should and dude finds himself on the line.  I’m trying to remember if they showed his face on the big screen or if it was just a general sense of “Oh crap this guy is going to shit himself on the line,” or what but the fans started a slow steady cheer to get behind him and show support.  Sort of like collectively saying “You can do it!” Sure enough he hit at least one of them and didn’t look like a complete idiot.  That was one of the most heart warming moment in Time Warner Cable arena that I can remember.

Nic’s Take on Diop
DeSagana N’gagne Diop which in French loosely translates to Really tall, Bad Contract, is going to be a Bobcat for the next two years.  There is really no way around it.  Although many believe that the world will come to an abrupt end on Saturday, even that wont get us off the hook.  Come Sunday the Bobcats will still owe Diop almost 8 million dollars as his contract has no post-apocalyptic clause that I am aware of.   These 7 footers are hard to handle.  When one comes along with even the tiniest bit of coordination GM’s practically fall over themselves trying to wrap up the next BIG thing.  Huge contracts are signed because of the promise of that cherished altitude.  Problem is, its rarely worth it and often ends in tears and knee injuries.

Diop can play defense, rebound and do anything you would ask a 7 footer to do short of putting the ball in the hoop consistently.  He was never going to be Shaq, but even doing the little things like rebounding, boxing out, and altering shots can sometimes be worth it for Diop’s price tag if he can do it on a regular basis.  Therein lies the problem; Accountability and Availability.  Two things Diop sorely misses.  Diop has been a Bobcat for roughly 2 and a half seasons, or 205 games.  Of those 205 possible games, he has been available for 84 of them, and only 43 tip offs the last 2 years.  Over the last two years he has been active approximately 25% of the time, and even when suited up his numbers per 36 minutes are average at 5.2 points and 9.6 rebounds.

So we know his availability just flat out isn’t cutting it for 7 million a season, but what really gets me is his lack of accountability.  Injuries happen, but at what point do you factor in just not giving a shit?  To me it doesn’t seem the desire is there and that is seconded by a source in the organization.  It is unbelievably frustrating to see a guy making 7 million dollars to basically sit on the bench in a suit and laugh at the goings on around him at games.  So Diop i beg of you. Get on a bike, you can clearly walk and I’ve seen you jump up after huge dunks or blocks.  Work out, rehab your injuries, try like hell to be available for your team or your teammates if nothing else.  I hear stories of good times you have on road trips obviously funded by your contract so at least try to fulfill your end of the deal.

But alas, these frustrations will fall on deaf ears.  You only have two options with Diop: Take a wash in any kind of trade to rid his contract, or stick with him and hope he can play. I am in the latter camp.  Coach Paul Silas had Diop looking like a respectable player in the 16 games he had him last season and big’s can always be valuable in the case of injury or foul trouble.  We all know we will take a beating in any kind of trade scenario that involves him, so we gotta just ignore his kings ransom and demand some kind of effort from him this season.  Besides, there’s always the chance that his expiring contract will be of use in some sort of “sign and trade before a free agent hits the market” type deal.

Offer Sheet:
If Diop were an unrestricted free-agent, on the open market, free for the bidding, I have no idea what I’d offer.  He’s been under this massive contract for about three years.  The Bobcats are paying for Mark Cuban’s contract, his assumption Diop would be what he was in those playoffs and that one good season he was consistently good.  An achillies rupture is sort of a freak thing, I guess, and he’s responding well to treatment and is “ahead of schedule” so I don’t take that into account.  I’d stretch and offer him $4 million per year over 3 years.  He’s only 29 and there aren’t that many 7′ shot blockers on the market.  

Gana is not a bad dude, despite my assumption of a rumor that he has honey-do lists on two continents and he travels with the team when most players who shut it down for the year would work by themselves (just weird to me, but not “bad”).  He just couldn’t see the court under Larry Brown, despite the tinkering that brought him here, the rust led to the injury.  He’s a servicable back-up that could fill in for the awesome starting center, sort of an early Shaq that I’d see us getting in the draft (don’t hold me to that).