If the Pacers can’t attract a highly coveted forward this summer, they should take a flier on this list’s cheapest player: Hamidou Diallo.
Making just $5.2 million per year on his latest contract, Diallo is the ultimate low-risk option. However, he is also the ultimate wildcard.
Coming off of his second full season with the Detroit Pistons, Diallo saw his playing time fluctuate amid a squad brimming with young talent and inconsistent rotations. Just this season, the Pistons rolled out 32 different starting lineups, but Diallo did not crack one of them despite playing in 56 games. Even when he started 29 games during his 2021-22 campaign, Diallo only averaged 21.9 minutes a night.
Known for winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2019, Diallo possesses some serious athleticism. Although the NBA officially lists him as a shooting guard, Diallo can slot in as a small forward due to his size and playstyle.
Diallo’s physical gifts generally allow him to play much bigger than his 6-foot-5 frame, which helped him shoot a career-best 57.3% from the field this season. His field goal percentage marked the highest conversion rate among guards this season. In fact, it marked the ninth-highest single-season field goal percentage for a guard in NBA history.
Diallo’s potential is relatively unclear.
When it comes to Diallo, his potential is hard to gauge. Despite his uber-efficient season, he only received 17.8 minutes per game across 56 contests. Nonetheless, Diallo’s per-36 numbers indicate some untapped basketball brilliance.
Per 36 minutes, Diallo averaged 18.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.9 steals this season. He also snagged 2.1 offensive boards per 36 minutes. For reference, 6-foot-8 Josh Giddey led all guards with 1.9 offensive rebounds per contest.
Based on his per-minute production, Diallo could be a diamond in the rough. In addition, his rebounding could help the Pacers with their struggles on the glass.