It's well known how the New York Knicks have been looking for frontcourt depth. However, the free agents available are not exactly the top talent most fans are hoping to see the team bring in. That led to the Knicks holding a two-day mini camp filled with veterans hoping to latch on with New York for next season. One player at that camp looking for an NBA contract was Ike Diogu. He'll now have the opportunity to join the Knicks in training camp with the chance to grab the fifteenth roster spot.
Diogu played for the Warriors from 2005-07, the Indiana Pacers from 2007-08, the Portland Trail Blazers from 2008-09, the Sacramento Kings in 2009, the Los Angeles Clippers from 2010-11 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2012.
Diogu then headed overseas and played for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China in 2012, the Capitanes de Arecibo in Puerto Rico in 2012, the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China from 2012-13 and the Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico since 2013.
I have heard forward Ike Diogu will be added to the Knicks training camp roster.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) September 23, 2013
Diogu actually had a very solid rookie season, including 7.0 points, 0.4 blocks, 0.2 steals, 0.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game. Unfortunately, once he was traded to Indiana in a huge eight-player deal that brought Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson to Golden State, Diogu's NBA career was never really the same.
Offensively, Diogu is a pure effort player. He can hit shots from mid-range but won't shoot many jumpers. He's decent free-throw shooter. He has some decent post moves but won't take his man off the dribble. However, he has a lot of strength and uses it well to create space for himself. He's skilled at using fakes to get his man into the air which helps him draw fouls.
He tends to struggle against taller players. He runs the floor well and gets easy baskets because of his effort. He's a solid rebounder and finishes second-chance opportunities well. However, he tends to make mistakes while passing the ball.
On defense, Diogu uses his strength well but he fouls too much. He's also been guilty of being too aggressive which leads to him falling for fakes and jumping too much. That being said, he has the strength and foot speed to be a solid defender. However, he badly needs the right coaching to steer him away from his mistakes. One thing he does well is rebound. It's then that he uses his strength to his benefit the best.
Overall, Diogu is more of a power forward than he is a center but he does have a 7' 3.5" wingspan. While he isn't fast, Diogu has plenty of strength and has no fear of throwing his weight around. Mostly, he's a good rebounder. He can score down low but shouldn't be relied upon.
The bottom line is, his transition to the NBA hasn't been an easy one. The fact is, his defensive shortcomings have held him back. He simply commits too many fouls. If he were to join the Knicks the team would be adding a tough guy but a flawed player. Josh Powell seems like the better option out of the two but then again there also seems to be some better options on the free agent market. That being said, the Knicks could probably do worse than Diogu. Just not much worse.
Diogu joins Powell as those who impressed the Knicks enough during the mini camp to get an opportunity to come to training camp. The Knicks now have six players on partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed deals who will fight to join the 12 guaranteed contracts New York already has on its roster.
C.J. Leslie is likely a lock for a regular-season roster spot. Jeremy Tyler also has an inside chance for a roster spot as well. However, his recent foot surgery has made that less of a formality. That leaves Diogu, Powell, Chris Smith, Toure Murry and whoever else the team brings in competing for the last open roster spot.
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