Ike Diogu, the 6’9″ journeyman, is set to join the New York Knicks for training camp. Diogu, as well as fellow big man Josh Powell, have both been invited to participate in the Knicks’ training camp, which begins next week. With 14 at least partially guaranteed contracts on the roster, the Knicks have been searching for options to fill the 15th and final spot on the roster.
It’s worth noting, of course, that the 15th man on the roster will likely have little impact on the regular rotation. Nonetheless, when injuries come around — as they did in bundles late last season — it’s important to have a reliable back-up. Likewise, Jeremy Tyler, one of the partially guaranteed contracts already on the team, will miss up to ten weeks due to foot surgery. The latest batch of camp invites seems to indicate that Glen Grunwald and the front office want to secure some more big man depth.
Diogu, of all of the names so far, is perhaps the most intriguing. Through six years and six different teams in the NBA, he’s never found a home for more than two seasons. He also hasn’t graced the NBA since 2011, but he once showed flashes of a productive player in his time in the league.
In Digou’s early seasons, spent with the Golden State Warriors, he averaged 6.6 points and 3.4 rebounds on 50% FG in just 14 minutes per game. After several quiet years in the NBA, he played ten highly productive games for the Sacramento Kings in 2008-09. In 14 minutes per game, Diogu averaged 9 points on 60% FG and 4 rebounds per game — averages that translated to 23 points and 10 boards per 36 minutes. In general, Diogu’s per-36 numbers indicate an exceptionally productive player (17 points, 9 rebounds per game for his career), despite limited playing time in nearly every stop. But for some reason, he’s never been able to stick in the league.
After two years away from the NBA and several unremarkable years, it’s unlikely that Diogu will have any noticeable impact on camp, let alone the team if he makes it. But there’s no denying that somewhere in that 6’9″, 250 lb. frame with a 7’3″ wingspan (!), there’s a potentially rotation-worthy player. You have my support, Ike.
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