Dieng scored 14 points with 12 rebounds in 27 minutes while coming off the bench in Wednesday's preseason win over Golden State in China. "I like Gorgui with the second group; he complements [Nemanja Bjelica] well," head coach Tom Thibodeau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune before the team's trip to China. "... We'll mix and match, depending who we're playing against and if they have two bigs on the floor."
After two preseason games, it looks pretty clear that Taj Gibson will start at power forward with Dieng set to come off the bench and play his more natural position at center. However, both players will likely get significant minutes and it's possible Dieng could move into the starting lineup when the team needs a bigger lineup. Still, Dieng has more downside with his minutes in a secondary role.
Dieng scored 14 points with 12 rebounds in 27 minutes in Saturday's preseason win over the Lakers, but came off the bench.
Taj Gibson started at power forward over Dieng. Dieng played well for the Timberwolves in the position last year, but Gibson has a history with coach Tom Thibodeau dating back to his days as the Bulls coach. It appears Gibson will get the first shot as the team's starter, but it's a battle that will likely play out in training camp and both figure to see double-digit minutes consistently during the regular season.
Dieng contributed 19 points (9-11 FG, 1-1 FT), eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block across 39 minutes in a 100-98 loss to the Thunder on Tuesday.
For one of the few times all season, Dieng actually finished second on the Timberwolves in scoring on the night, outpacing Andrew Wiggins (18 points), who typically serves as the second banana to Karl-Anthony Towns (26 points). Coach Tom Thibodeau hasn't shied away from handing Dieng significant playing time over the final stretch of the season, but Tuesday's performance aside, Dieng's production hasn't seen a noticeable spike. Over his last 13 games, he's averaging 10.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals in 36.5 minutes per game, numbers that are only a tinge better than his season marks.
Dieng managed 12 points (4-6 FG, 4-4 FT), seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and one steal over 37 minutes in Sunday's 110-109 loss to the Lakers.
With Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins combining for 48 shot attempts, Dieng wasn't very involved on the offensive end, but was very efficient with the opportunities he did have. It wast the 27-year-old's first double-digit scoring effort over the last five games and his ninth contest over the last 10 with at least one block.
Dieng mustered four points (1-4 FG, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal over 39 minutes in Thursday's 105-98 loss to the Trail Blazers.
On a night when teammates Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio combined for 62 shot attempts, Dieng was minimally involved on the offensive end. However, he was his typically productive self on the glass, and has now hauled in at least seven rebounds in seven straight contests. He continues to be a formidable impediment down low as well, as he's posted multiple blocks in six of the last eight games.
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