Leave it to Warriors owner Joe Lacob to gloat in the wake of unprecedented defeat. After Golden State blew its chance at a dream season by becoming the first team in NBA history to lose a 3–1 Finals lead, the notoriously bumptious Lacob wasn’t content to take his medicine and return to fornicating with last year’s Larry O’Brien Trophy. Rather, he consoled himself by pontificating about the rosy future of the Dubs at — where else? — Stanford’s Directors’ College.
According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal — the leading outlet for NBA news and rumors, obviously — Lacob even hinted that the Warriors might begin to deemphasize their patented brand of small ball: “We drove this idea of small ball, and it’s a different style of play,” he crowed. “Having said that, I think it’s important to know that whenever everyone else starts doing things, it’s time to start doing what’s next. We’re on to the next idea.”
That idea seems to be the complete antithesis of small ball: Call it tall ball, or as it was known in the past, basketball. The Warriors took Vanderbilt 7-footer Damian Jones with their first-round pick in Thursday’s draft, but it was their signing of a little-known undrafted free agent that really portends the Lineup of Death’s imminent demise.
Faithful readers, let me introduce you to a man by the name of Mamadou Ndiaye.
Um … [*screaming emoji* *flushed emoji*] … how tall is he? He is 7-foot-6 — just 1 inch shorter than the tallest players in NBA history, Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan. Ndiaye is also the tallest player to enter the NBA since Yao Ming.
Where is he from? The 22-year-old native of Dakar, Senegal, comes to the Warriors by way of UC Irvine, where he broke the school record for career blocked shots (218). Last season, he averaged 12.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game, leading the Anteaters to a 28–10 mark and a runner-up finish in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Wait, didn’t this guy already play in the NBA? No. You’re thinking of the other Mamadou N’Diaye (no relation), who was drafted by the Nuggets in 2000 and stands at a paltry 7 feet.
Does he have any chance to make the Warriors’ 2016 roster? Hey, if Lacob is truly committed to ditching small ball, Ndiaye has a shot. With Marreese Speights, Anderson Varejão, and Festus Ezeli set to become free agents, Golden State could be in need of some new bigs.
How did Ndiaye announce his signing? Hilariously, he tweeted about joining the Dubs like he was a five-star recruit making a high-profile commitment on National Signing Day:
Ooooh, the suspense was killing us, Mamadou! He should have taken things a step further and broadcast a hat dance on Facebook Live.
Does anything else stand out about his Twitter account? He seems to have supported the Cavs in the Finals, which may not go over particularly well with his new teammates.
Are there any funny YouTube clips of Ndiaye dominating much shorter competition? Why yes, of course there are! He had already grown to 7–5 as a teenager, so Ndiaye was a force to be reckoned with in local church league games:
When can I see him in action? The Warriors open summer league play on July 9 against the Spurs. Set your DVRs now — and pray that he fits on your TV screen.