Cleveland Cavaliers select center Khalifa Diop with No. 39 pick in 2022 NBA Draft, plan to keep him overseas

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 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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