With both Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli announced as being out for the Olympics, former Golden State Warriors lottery pick Ike Diogu will be the center of attention tonight when the Nigeria D'Tigers face Team USA tonight at 5 p.m. PST.
And how can you forget about Ike Diogu?
After being drafted ninth overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, Diogu's most significant contribution to the Warriors was a) dropping 27 on Ben Wallace and the Detroit Pistons (in a loss) that one time and b) being part of the trade for Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson that catalyzed the We Believe run in 2007. After bouncing around the league for the next five years, Diogu's biggest personal accomplishment was probably leading Nigeria to its first-ever Olympics in 2012. Now in his early-30's, DIogu has become the centerpiece of the Nigerian team as both its captain and top offensive threat.
But this team would've been a bit more formidable with Ezeli around to anchor the middle.
Ezeli, who just recently departed the Warriors for the Portland Trail Blazers after the Kevin Durant mega-deal, confirmed that he would be out for Olympics last week, according to Adekunle Binuyo of Basketball Within Borders. While the stated reason for Ezeli's absence has been concerns about insurance — which has been a growing concern in recent years — as David MacKay of Blazer's Edge wrote a few days ago in response to the news, "Many have speculated that the Trail Blazers were able to sign him to an inexpensive contract in free agency because of future health concerns, in which case, it makes sense for Ezeli to play it safe."
With or without Ezeli, it doesn't appear that this game will be much of a contest anyway. Mostly, it's just another opportunity to fantasize about the upcoming season with Kevin Durant playing alongside Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
USA vs. Nigeria info
Place: Toyota Center
Time: 5 p.m. PST
TV: NBA TV
Streaming: USA Basketball Facebook