With the Phoenix Suns roster already very near capacity, having 12 players already signed to a contract, there is very little space for any new additions. NBA teams must sign a minimum of 13 players, and a maximum of 15 players by the start of the season. However, the Suns have elected to carry only the minimum of 13 players on their roster over the last several years. If this trend continues, then only one of the five players who were invited to training camp (Ike Diogu, Diante Garrett, Othyus Jeffers, Solomon Jones, and Luke Zeller) will be signed to the actual roster.
One of the more likely of the five to win that spot is former Arizona State University stand-out Ike Diogu. Diogu averaged an impressive 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds during his three-years at ASU, and was originally drafted 9th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2005 NBA Draft.
Diogu is a 29 year old 6'8", 250lb power forward who has bounced around between seven different teams in his six year NBA career. Although his height at 6'8" is considered a little small for an NBA power forward, his 7'3.5" wingspan and strength helps him compensate.
Here is a look at his stats during his NBA career thus far:
As you can see, Diogu has never made a major impact for any team in his six year NBA career. However, he has never really received an abundance of minutes either, and his "Per 36" stats tell a slightly different story:
With the exception of his two-game stint with San Antonio last season, Diogu has been fairly productive in his limited minutes. Not only that, but Diogu was very impressive this summer while playing for the Nigerian Olympic team averaging 14.8 points and 9 rebounds per game, which definitely caught the attention of many NBA teams...including the Suns.
Kris Habbas of SB Nation Arizona conducted an interview with Ike Diogu about coming back to Arizona, his play for the Nigerian Olympic team, as well as what he expects this summer during Suns' training camp:
For those of you who aren't familiar with Diogu as a player and would like to see him in action...well...as you might expect, there just aren't many recent highlight videos for a guy who's been a journeyman in the league for six seasons. However, here is one that was made after his rookie season in Golden State if you would like to get a little taste of Diogu's game:
Odds are that Ike Diogu has a very good chance of making the roster as the Suns' 13th man. He is an experienced, long & strong player who can bang down low and contribute if called upon to do so. Ultimately, it will all come down to how well he plays in training camp and during the pre-season, as well as how he gels with his teammates. However, with Channing Frye out for the season and the Suns still in need of more big men who can score in the post and guard the paint, he certainly seems like a good fit.