It'll be a long time before the steal of the draft is realized, but early hype around Keita Bates-Diop, the former Ohio State star drafted by the Wolves 48th overall in the second round, indicates there's a chance it'll be him.
Bates-Diop is a 6-foot-7 guard/forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, making him a potential lockdown defender in the NBA.
Big Ten Network analyst Dan Dakich tweeted that Minnesota got the steal of the draft, and Bate-Diop's former Ohio State teammate, D'Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets, likened his style of play to Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard.
He's got exact same wingspan as Leonard, who has proved to be one of the best players, and maybe the best wing defender, in the NBA when he's healthy.
"It will definitely translate because my wingspan is still very long, it will be hard for people to get shots over me," Bates-Diop said of his defensive prowess, via Hoops Hype.
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Bates-Diop was named the Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 19.8 points, 8.7 per rebounds and 1.6 blocks as a 22-year-old.
"I can play shooting guard, small forward and power forward. I can switch on defense, one through four or one through five. I can guard multiple positions and run with the bigs, too," Bates-Diop told Hoops Hype.
Minnesota liked Bates-Diop so much that "he was in the discussion at 20 for a long time," said head coach Tom Thibodeau. They took shooting guard Josh Okogie 20th overall instead, but Thibodeau noted they were "very fortunate" to get Bates-Diop as late as they did.