CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Cavaliers looked toward the future with their first second-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, choosing young center Khalifa Diop at No. 39. Sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs view the 7-foot-1 Diop as a draft-and-stash prospect who will stay overseas and develop before coming to the NBA.
Diop, 20, was born in Senegal. He started his professional career with Gran Canaria — a Spanish Club that plays in the Liga ACB. Diop had his best season in 2021-22, winning the EuroCup Rising Star trophy, which honors the best under-22 player in the EuroCup — a second-tier competition under the EuroLeague. NBA players Kristaps Porzingis and Jonas Valanciunas are past recipients of that honor.
In 49 games this past season, Diop averaged 6.1 points on 60.4% from the field to go with 4.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 0.8 blocks. He did not attempt a 3-pointer.
A participant in the 2019 Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during NBA All-Star Weekend in 2019, Diop competed for Senegal at the 2021 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup and in the qualifying games for his home country ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
With Cleveland having four picks going into the night — and 11 players on guaranteed contracts — a draft-and-stash selection was always likely.
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