Milwaukee Bucks: Mamadi Diakite cleans up G League honors after stellar run

Jan 7, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 7, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports) /

He may be far removed from his strong G League run, but Milwaukee Bucks two-way player Mamadi Diakite garnered plenty of recognition for his efforts down in Orlando this season.

As the G League announced Tuesday afternoon, Diakite was honored with an All-NBA G League first team selection, an All-Rookie team selection and an All-Defensive team selection for his play in the G League.

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That’s nothing short of impressive, which is certainly indicative of how Diakite played over the course of his assignment with the Lakeland Magic down in the bubble, whom won it all this truncated G league season. That came in large part with Diakite showing out the way he did.

In his 12 appearances, three of those coming in starts, Diakite averaged 18.5 points on .580/.500/.750 shooting, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 2 assists across 27.7 minutes per contest.

Mamadi Diakite has showed off his potential for the Milwaukee Bucks.

To this point in the Bucks’ season, Diakite hasn’t factored into their plans generally. However, since returning to the team from Orlando at the All-Star break, Diakite has earned a pair of appearances and even scored a bucket in his NBA debut in the Bucks’ dominating victory over the New York Knicks earlier this month.

With the Bucks on a roll with their seven-game win streak and their rotation further set after making the splash to acquire P.J. Tucker from the Houston Rockets last week, Diakite will continue to earn spot minutes when games are in hand or on rest nights.

However, that doesn’t mean Diakite’s future isn’t worth investing in from a Bucks perspective.

As the need to develop talent on the margins grows, given the Bucks’ diminished set of draft assets, and do so at cost-controlled rates, the Bucks will have to get creative in terms of managing their internal development to sustain this era and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s prime. That creativity will have to lead to Diakite earning some reps at the NBA level, beyond mop up duty situations, and that’s where it gets more challenging for Diakite, and all of the Bucks’ rookies for that matter.

It’s certainly not easy to do for a Bucks team that is rounding into form and has real aspirations on the line this season. Therein lies the struggle of how Diakite, Sam Merrill and Jordan Nwora will fare as they continue to do work behind the scenes, all in the hope of earning more minutes under head coach Mike Budenholzer.

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While many challenges lies ahead, Diakite can reflect well on the experiences he had down in the G League this season. His hard work has paid off into multiple rewards and recognition, and more will be required to maintain his current trajectory in Milwaukee and the NBA as a whole.