The Nuggets brought in Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State) on Monday for a draft workout along with Marcus Foster (Creighton), George King (Colorado), Chimezie Metu (USC), and Kendrick Nunn (Oakland). Bates-Diop is probably the only guy in this group who will be a first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
While the media barely got to see any of the prospects actually play today, highlight tape shows how he would fit in well with the Nuggets if they decided to draft him. Bates-Diop improved every year he was at Ohio State, with a major jump in production between his Junior and Senior years. Bates-Diop went from 9.7 points per game on 50 percent shooting his junior year to 19.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting his senior year. He went from shooting 8.2 shots per game to 15.1 with a very small decrease in shooting percentage, which is pretty impressive. According to tankathon.com, Bates-Diop measures in at a little over 6’8” with an insane 7’3” wingspan. This gives him the opportunity to excel on defense in regards to one-on-one defending.
During his workout on Monday, Bates-Diop emphasized the importance on switching in the modern NBA. If you watch the NBA Finals, you’ll see how every guy out there has to be able to switch on defense. Even guys like Tristan Thompson are effective when switched onto a guard. This is a place where Bates-Diop can really excel in the league. Being 6’8” allows him to be able to guard positions 1-5.
On offense, Bates-Diop would fit in really well with Denver. Playing four years in college is seen as a negative with a lot of prospects, but in Bates-Diop’s case, it’s a strength. I’m not saying that he would be thrusted into the starting lineup immediately, but if he eventually was made a starter, I think he’d be ready for it. Especially more so than a guy like Kevin Knox for example.
Keita Bates-Diop is not the most athletic wing in this draft. This is why I think he isn’t projected to go as high as Mikal Bridges for example. That being said, Denver doesn’t really need a super athletic wing. They need a guy who can knock down open shots and play defense. Bates-Diop shot 36 percent from the three-point line this past season, which isn’t outstanding. He shot about the same as Wilson Chandler did. Where Bates-Diop is an improvement on Chandler with his defensive potential. While he didn’t shoot better from behind the three point arc, his two point percentage was 55 percent to Chandler’s 50 percent. With Bates-Diop’s numbers being eerily similar to that of Chandler’s, he would give the Nuggets a long term option at the small forward position whenever the Nuggets and Chandler do decide to part ways.
Nuggets fans should be excited to see Bates-Diop possibly play with Nikola Jokic. While he isn’t as good as some other wings in the draft, Bates-Diop is the perfect type of player for the Nuggets. It might be a reach to take him at 14, but if Denver trades back in the draft then Keita Bates-Diop might be Denver’s top prospect.