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With Confidence Oozing, Keita Bates-Diop Leads Wolves To Win Over Cavs

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Keita Bates-Diop is a quiet guy. But he was pretty loud on Friday night, even if he didn’t say much.

The second-year Bates-Diop led the Wolves to an 85-75 win, finishing with 17 points to go with three rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Bates-Diop was extremely efficient, too, shooting 7-for-10 from the field and 3-for-5 from the 3-point line.

Hitting the 3-point line is something Bates-Diop has been working on. He wants to be about a 35-percent 3-point shooter, which would be huge for him, and the Wolves.

It’s clear in his second Summer League that Bates-Diop is has a lot more confidence than he did a year ago. Last season, he came into Summer League like you’d expect a rookie to. Somewhat tentative. There was none of that on Friday night.

"I have great confidence in my game right now,” Bates-Diop said after the game. “Last year, coming off pre-draft workouts and then two weeks before coming into this and then a whole NBA season, we've got a whole offseason this year already, so I'm pretty confident in my game."

Something that was so intriguing about Bates-Diop in last year’s draft was his size and length. A year later, we are seeing Bates-Diop play multiple positions, or to be more specific, like all of them.

“The beauty of Keita’s game is he can pretty much play every position,” Summer League coach Pablo Prigioni said. “He can play point guard if he wants. His ability to play multiple positions gives us a lot of options . . . With him at 3, 4 to 5. It’s so valuable. He was good. He was aggressive getting to the rim. He makes shots.”

As we saw in the NBA Finals, outside of Marc Gasol and Kevon Looney, there really weren’t designated positions. And that bodes well for someone like Bates-Diop, who is embracing this.

"I want to play positionless, but I can play multiple positions,” Bates-Diop said. “I played the 3-4-5., I don't think I'll play the five during the season, but just being able to play multiple positions is a big thing for all of us."

To round things out for the Wolves on Friday night, Josh Okogie finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Kelan Martin had a double-double, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Wolves are back at it on Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPN 2.

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