I don’t know anything about Keita Bates-Diop except that I seem to remember him being considered a steal in the second round of the draft for the Timberwolves. My knowledge of the draft, aside from the top 10 or so guys, is based entirely on what the good people at ESPN tell me during their coverage, so I believed them. I’m always skeptical of players who are considered a steal being passed by multiple teams even in the second round, but what do I know? I’m just some random dude on the internet with horrible takes, whereas the guys on ESPN are TV personalities with horrible takes.
Bates-Diop has, somewhat predictably for the 48th overall pick, not played much this season. If he was a steal, he’s one of those steals who is taking a while to develop. Although, looking at his four-year college career, I’m struck by how much he suddenly improved in his final year. He was JAG (just a guy) his first three, and then exploded in his fourth. So I’m wondering if maybe this is the final version of Bates-Diop that we’re seeing right now. Does he have another big leap in him? He might. Wesley Johnson didn’t, but this guy might.
The Timberwolves are almost entirely out of playoff contention at this point, so I’ll suggest what I suggest for every marginal rookie on a bad team: he should get lots of minutes and opportunities to close out the season. He did get the start tonight, which is a good start (GET IT? HAHAHAHAHA!!! START!!!!), and he responded by scoring a career-high 12. He even hit a three, only his second out of 17 attempts. His missed free-throw near the end of regulation (the first is always the hardest, they said. pfffft) opened the door for a Bradley Beal game-tying shot, but the Timberwolves won anyway, so it’s all good.