Moussa Diabate signs two-way contract with the LA Clippers

Moussa Diabatethe former Michigan basketball player who was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 43rd pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, has officially signed with his new franchise. The Clippers announced the news Friday afternoon via their Twitter page:

According to The Athletic’s Law Moore, Diabate signed a two-way contract for one year. Players on two-way contracts can play in up to 50 of their NBA team’s 82 regular-season games and can also compete for their franchise’s G League affiliate. (In LA’s case, this is the Ontario Clippers.) Diabate will earn a salary equal to half the minimum salary applicable to a player with zero years of service.

The two-way contract doesn’t come as much of a surprise. On Draft night, Lawrence Frank, President of Basketball Operations, called the former Wolverine a “development project.”

“Moussa is a young big with a high motor who runs the floor, crashes the glass and defends multiple positions. His energy is infectious. We enjoyed getting to know him in the draft process and are excited to grow with him. … He’s a guy that has an unbelievable motor, who has shown the ability to switch and guard multiple positions, and brings a little more athleticism,” Frank said at the time.

Diabate has shown promise in his short stint with the LA Clippers. Though an ankle injury sidelined him for the end of the Summer League, he debuted with six offensive boards and 10 points, including this highlight-worthy dunk. He ultimately played in two Summer League games, averaging 24.1 minutes, 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Diabate entered the NBA Draft process after a single season in Ann Arbor. As a freshman in 2021-22, the forward played in 32 games with 26 starts, mostly at the ‘4.’ He averaged 9.0 points per game with 13 double-figure scoring games and averaged 6.0 rebounds per game, including a team-high 76 offensive boards.

Though his offensive skill-set remains raw, Diabate’s elite athleticism made him an intriguing NBA prospect, and he supported that through his performance at the NBA Combine. His shuttle run (first among centers), three-quarter-court sprint (second), standing vert (second), max vert (first) and lane agility (first) were all elite among prospects at his position.

Diabate’s frame (6’10.25” in shoes, 9’1.50” standing reach, 7’2.50” wingspan) and body composition also project to the NBA. As Diabate himself acknowledged, his athleticism represents potential — he has the ability to improve in the low post, with his shooting and as a switchable defender.

LA’s front office explained that while Diabate is best-suited as a center or power forward in the near future, he could be more versatile down the line. In addition to his basketball skills and athletic potential, the Clippers were impressed that Diabate offered to work out for the franchise despite an ankle injury. Los Angeles declined that offer, but Diabate later returned to California to showcase his abilities, telling staff, “I love to compete.”

“When we talk about the qualities that we value, it all starts with your actions,” Frank said. “It was just so impressive just to see, on your 21st workout, to be able to bring the same energy and the same intensity that you had in your prior workouts. We saw some special qualities in him.”

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