If former Ohio State star Keita Bates-Diop end up in the Windy City during the 2018 NBA Draft, the transition to the NBA may not be as smooth.
Keita Bates-Diop is making his rounds across the country working out for different NBA teams. The former Ohio State product was injured early on during his list of workouts but it did not require him to miss time.
Bates-Diop has been spending a ton of time on the west coast. Notable workouts out there include those with the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The latest, however, was in the midwest with the Chicago Bulls as he is making his way closer to Ohio. The workout was held on Wednesday.
By joining the Bulls, like the Lakers, for example, the Normal, Illinois native would be relied upon to do more than he may possibly be ready for as a rookie. There were contributing pieces at Ohio State but that may not be the case once he gets to the NBA.
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No one knows where players are going to go. Just like in previous drafts, the 2018 draft will provide outcomes some may not prefer. While some may not like where they are soon going, it could be a blessing down the road.
That is not to say Bates-Diop wouldn’t want to go to Chicago. Far from that. Rather, it just goes to show as successful as he (and others) was in college it will be more challenging to go to a young rebuilding team in the pros.
That would be the case with the Bulls. Bates-Diop’s skill set transitioning to the NBA will need some time to improve. That is why it would be better for him to play for a team with more talent. However, if Bates-Diop were to end up with the Bulls, maybe and hopefully he finishes with a rookie of the year caliber season like Donovan Mitchell just had with the Utah Jazz.
Chicago holds the 7th and 22nd selections. It would be shocking for Bates-Diop to be selected in the top 10. Bates-Diop should be drafted in the early 20s but if Chicago really wants him, they may have to trade up. Minnesota has the 20th pick, so trading with the San Antonio Spurs or Atlanta Hawks 18 and 19 respectively may be considered.
By joining Chicago, Bates-Diop could start ahead of Denzel Valentine. At the very worst, he likely would be the backup. Then again that all depends on what Chicago does at seven. With what they have to work with, Bates-Diop is going to be playing multiple positions and should have a key role early on.
Whether playing small ball (playing as a power forward) or in a traditional lineup (as a small forward), Bates-Diop has been an intriguing prospect to watch. Chicago does not have much on the roster, so he could see added opportunities than what is initially expected. That said, combining him with Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen could be the start of something for them.
Bates-Diop would have to learn to be more aggressive with the ball and score in this situation as the Bulls need help in that department. That should not be any problem though as he put up nearly 20/game last season.
A long season would be ahead for the former OSU product. Then again, the more playing time he gets early on, the better his game will be sooner rather than later. Bates-Diop can contribute from the get-go but his role will dictate exactly how much an NBA team will get out of him.
The expectation is that Bates-Diop should be a solid contributor for NBA teams given his length and defensive ability but if he becomes just a specialist, how will that impact his career? Exactly how that plays out may be the most polarizing question for the Ohio State prospect.