Meet Hamidou Diallo: New Detroit Pistons SG is former Slam Dunk champ enjoying career year

Detroit Free Press

Tyler J. Davis
| Detroit Free Press

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The stalwarts of the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder rosters were traded for one another Friday. 

Detroit sent Svi Mykhailiuk, the longest-tenured member of the team at (parts of) three seasons, and a future second-round pick to Oklahoma City for Hamidou Diallo, the longest-tenured member (at three seasons) of that franchise. How will the cities recover from losing such mainstays?

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In all seriousness, the trade makes sense for both teams. The Thunder are light on 3-point shooting (34% as a team; third-worst in the league) and that’s Myhailiuk’s calling card, even if he has struggled (33.3% this season vs. 36.9% for his career) lately. 

The Pistons, meanwhile, inject a better defender and athlete into the rotation. Detroit isn’t exactly wanting for rangy threats with Jerami Grant, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Wayne Ellington and Sekou Doumbaya all seeing minutes, but at 22 years old, Diallo is an exciting prospect to add to that bunch. 

More on the New York native: 

Count Troy Weaver as a fan

Pistons fans may not have been aware of Diallo — a steadily improving player, but not a star by any means — but the team’s front office certainly was. Detroit general manager Troy Weaver was part of the braintrust that brought Diallo to Oklahoma City in 2018.

When Diallo was picked 45th overall in 2018 by the Brooklyn Nets, OKC traded for his rights and signed him the next month. Weaver, at the time, was the vice president/assistant general manager of the Thunder. He served the next season as vice president of basketball operations in OKC before taking his current role with the Pistons. 

Myhailiuk was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers two picks after Diallo in 2018.  

Hamidou Diallo coming into his own

Reports are that the Thunder were OK moving on from Diallo, a restricted free agent this offseason, because of the emergence of Luguentz Dort. While that may make Diallo sound like a castoff, he’s actually enjoying the best season of his young NBA career. 

He scored 15 or more points in eight straight games from the end of January to the middle of Feburary

Diallo, 6-feet-5 with a 7-foot wingspan, is averaging career-highs in points (11.9 per game), rebounds (5.2), assists (2.4) and field goal percentage (48.1%) while taking more shots (9.3) and playing more minutes (23.8). His Player Efficiency Rating is 15.1 — right at league average and above Pistons wings such as Jackson, Bey and Ellington.

Another Slam Dunk champion joins the Pistons

Dennis Smith Jr. Blake Griffin. And now, Diallo. 

The Pistons have made a trend over the past several seasons of acquiring high-flyers with Slam Dunk Contest titles on their mantles, and Diallo is as springy as anyone. He was a five-star signee with Kentucky partly because of his long, athletic frame and tremendous vertical leap. That athleticism is also why he only spent one season with the Wildcats.

Diallo charted a 44.5-inch jump at the 2017 NBA scouting combine, the second-highest leap in event history at the time. That ability manifested in a 2019 Slam Dunk Contest championship, in which Diallo cleared Shaquille O’Neal and received a standing alley-oop from rapper Quavo, who knows a thing or two about the topic

You don’t want to see the Pistons with Saben Lee, Smith or Diallo coming down the court on a fastbreak. 

Follow the Free Press on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be contacted at or on Twitter @TDavisFreep.

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