Clippers take Michigan’s Moussa Diabate with 43rd pick

CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers drafted forward Moussa Diabate from Michigan with the 43rd pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.

Diabate was the second player from Michigan to be picked in the second round. Caleb Houstan went to Orlando with the 32nd selection.

The 6-foot-11 Diabate helped the Wolverines reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in his freshman season. He started 26 of 32 games, averaging 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. He shot 54% from the field, second-best on the team, and was named to the All-Big Ten freshman team.

“He’s a guy that has an unbelievable motor, who has shown the ability to switch and guard multiple positions, and brings a little more athleticism,” said Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations.

Diabate, who is from France, moved to the U.S. at age 14, two years after he started playing basketball. He played at three different prep schools in Florida, spending his last two seasons at IMG Academy. He has a wing span of 7 feet, 3 inches.

Diabate will likely be a two-way player for the immediate future.

He joins a well-stocked Clippers team that has NBA championship aspirations, with Kawhi Leonard expected back after missing all of last season while recovering from ACL surgery.

Leonard is not yet playing five-on-five, according to Frank.

“He continues to do great,” Frank said. “He’s maniacal in his work ethic. I’m glad we can afford the light bill because he’s put in the hours.”

The Clippers didn’t have a first-round pick, having sent it to Oklahoma City as part of the 2019 trade in which Paul George was acquired. They had just one selection for the first time since 2015.

“We didn’t have a sexy first-round pick, but we’ve been very fortunate in the second round to be able to find some really good players,” Frank said.

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