Missing a Boat

Posted by Rob Mahoney on September 23, 2010 under Commentary, News | 7 Comments to Read

boat_snset

Ike Diogu has spent five years in a bottle. During four of those years he was a natural force waiting to be unleashed; Diogu played limited minutes for multiple Warriors iterations, landed in Indiana, was sent to Portland, and wound up in Sacramento, all without regular playing time or a role worthy of his talent. He’s been around, and yet in spite of impressive per-minute production, Diogu has yet to find a proper gig. He wasn’t a starter. He wasn’t a sixth man. He wasn’t even a utility big, really. He has filled in minutes here and there, but his career hasn’t been more than a series of sublets.

Now, despite being linked to the Mavs as a training camp prospect, it’s seems Diogu will have no lease in Dallas, either.

In some ways, it’s hard to blame the Mavericks’ brass for passing on a chance to sign Diogu. He is, after all, coming off a season lost in its entirety. The dreaded microfracture surgery saw to that, and it’s on such a note that I hope the Mavericks hesitated. When healthy, Diogu was a contributor. In better days, he was everything that Mavs fans found so endearing in Brandon Bass, but with sharper interior scoring and superior rebounding. He was capable of having that type of impact, on good teams or bad, on fast teams or slow. Ike Diogu was a player, and yet because of a few bad hands, this post reads like an obituary.

If Ike’s injury really has grounded him, Dallas was right to pass. However, should Diogu show for another team in another camp? I won’t quite understand the Mavs’ logic. Brian Cardinal and Steve Novak (among others) will be joining the Mavs on unguaranteed deals, but both are niche players. Each has a role and fills it well, but if Dallas is looking for a candidate to play consistent frontcourt minutes, I fail to see Diogu’s (non-injury) downside.

He obviously has weaknesses in his game (Defense and court sense, ay, caramba!), but Diogu can hit the boards and create on the offensive end, even if he often does so with blinders on. That’s something otherwise lacking among the Maverick reserves. His game offers more than a neat little trick, or token court balance; Diogu is a certifiable low-post option, particularly against second-string bigs. He’s capable of being something the Mavericks need, whether they acknowledge that to the public or not.

Or at least he was capable of being something the Mavericks need, last we saw him. Back then, Diogu was dropping big-time double-doubles in meaningless games, a plea for observers to raise his projected ceiling. The proper headroom does give the Diogu estate the appropriate character, but now, right or wrong, that very ceiling’s structural integrity has come into question. Diogu’s career marks of  17.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per 36 minutes should speak for themselves, and I hope they do. More importantly, I hope that the Mavericks listened. I hope they honestly and truly considered Diogu, only to find him slowed to the point of ineffectiveness by his injury, unfortunate though that may be. I hope that there is something going on here aside from a determination that “Ike Diogu is no Brian Cardinal.”

There has to be.

…Right?

  • Timothy Varner

    Rob, I'm with you. Not sure why the Spurs wouldn't bring him in either.

  • CareyScurry

    Not to link to both the article and Varner's comment, but Mahinmi is probably as good or better on the boards as Diogu at this point, if kinda dusty D-League stats are an indicator. (That said, he lacks Diogu's skills in the post on offense.)

    I'm pro-Diogu, mind you, more so for Dallas than the Spurs (where he is somewhat redundant with Blair around), just nitpicking…

  • jason

    I remember he exploded the last few games he played in sac-town. He was going off for like 30 and 10.

    BTW, I also do believe he played (or at least was on the team) for the hornets too.

  • Justin

    Just read the NBA 2K11 Overall ratings for each teams starting five:

    http://www.operationsports.com/feature.php?id=1138

    Dirk an 83? I am very confused by this rating… Especially when looking at all the other ratings

    • Brayden

      Yah, and Durant is only a 91 to Carmelo's 93…

      Gotta say I was totally excited about this game, but looking at these ratings put a damper on my day.

  • Ed

    Rob,I agree with you on what Ike can do. I don't know why people just can't see glass full instead of half full. He just need an opporturnity to show case what he can do but nobody is willing to give him that chance. This time they are hiding under the pretence that he had microfracture surgery. I don't think he is the first person that had done this type of surgery before. WHY not give him a chance?Everybody knows that to kill a dog you have to give it a bad name in order to justify the killing.Ike is in top shape now and has recovered from his injury and thats how determined he is to prove himself if only he will be given a chance. I hope that Mavs and others will really give him a chance.He is a very humble boy liked by fans whereever he goes.

  • Brayden

    Looks like Detroit decided to sign Ike Diogu. I wish him luck.