The Minnesota Timberwolves have selected Keita Bates-Diop in the 2018 NBA draft with the No. 48 overall pick.
Limited to nine games in 2016-17 due to a stress fracture in his leg, Bates-Diop bounced back to have his most productive season at Ohio State. The Big Ten Player of the Year averaged 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and won over NBA scouts in the process.
Size: 6'8 ½"
Weight: 223.8 pounds
Wingspan: 7'3 ¼"
Reach: 8'10 ½
Pro-player comparison: James Posey
One of the draft's most physically impressive forwards, Bates-Diop has the size to play the 4 and the skill to play either forward position. He entered last season with 57 three-point makes through 75 career games. As a redshirt junior, he hit 66 threes. He was still more efficient around the basket, where he shot 66.2 percent. Bates-Diop distinguished himself in the post with his ability to face up and shoot or put the ball on the floor and attack. And he was one of the nation's most effective off-ball cutters, ranking in the 88th percentile. Bates-Diop's offense is all about versatility and scoring from all three levels of the floor.
He connected on just 35.6 percent of his total jump shots. On guarded catch-and-shoots, his success rate fell to 33.7 percent. Bates-Diop still has trouble creating high-percentage looks for himself in the half court, as he generated just .754 points per possession out of isolation, ranking in the 43rd percentile. He also lacks the explosiveness to blow by defenders. His 10.5 assist percentage is notably low.
Bates-Diop possesses A-plus defensive tools, from his feet to his frame and length. He could wind up checking 5s, 4s and wings. He averaged 1.6 blocks using his long arms to reach and contest. But his defensive motor wasn't always charged. He'd occasionally get beat too easily, or there were times it appeared as if he could do more to challenge a play. NBA coaches will see exciting defensive potential, but to unlock it, they'll have to work with him on staying alert and active.
Bates-Diop doesn't have a core strength to lean on, which could make it difficult on him as a rookie. Until he picks up his defense and becomes a more reliable shooter, coaches may have trouble playing him for long stretches. It won't be surprising if he spends time in the G League next season.
Projected role: Three-and-D combo role player
Already 22 years old with an injury history and average athleticism, Bates-Diop doesn't have a high ceiling. However, his tools and skill set suggest he's a fit in today's league, as he should be able to play and guard different spots. He should stick and add value for his ability to score from different places on the floor, working on and off the ball. If he can turn into a plus defender every night and develop into a consistent shooting threat, he'll have the chance to have a Posey-like career, complementing bigger stars as part of a supporting cast.