What does the future hold for newly signed Sixers underdogs?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 14 Big West Conference Tournament – UC Santa Barbara vs. CSUN
ANAHEIM, CA – MARCH 14: Cal State Northridge Matadors forward Lamine Diane, center, goes up towards the basket past UC Santa Barbara Gauchos forward Amadou Sow, left, and forward Robinson Idehen during a quarterfinals game of Big West Tournament at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Icon Sportswire)

Sixers announce a flurry of roster moves

Some were high-profile like the return of Justin Anderson and re-signing of Ryan Broekhoff, but two may well have slipped under your radars. Here is everything you need to know about a pair of underdogs signed by the Sixers.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to have a maximum of two players under two-way contracts in addition to the players under standard NBA contracts. Those players are Lamine Diane and Dakota Mathis.

Lamine Diane

Diane declared for this year’s NBA Draft after two strong years at California State University, Northridge. This past season, the 23-year-old forward averaged 25.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. Unfortunately, he only played 19 games (all starts) due to being academically ineligible for the fall semester. Potential for hidden value? Sure.

At 6’7, 205 lbs, Diane isn’t the most prolific shooting forward and it’s been reported that a shoulder injury may well have stagnated his growth in that area and explain his .286% 3-point percentage last season.

Diane also struggled from the foul line last year, sinking just 58% of attempts.

The good news is, he has plenty of accomplished veterans to learn from. Although he’ll likely spend a huge chunk of time honing his skills in the G-League, being able to work closely with names like Seth Curry, Danny Green, and even Tobias Harris over the coming weeks during camp could be instrumental to developing his game.

It’s clear that Diane is a physical player who can be a menace around the rim. If the Sixers can build out that skillset, he could well be a steal.

He will wear #35 for the Sixers, in case anyone wants to keep an eye out.

Dakota Mathias

The second player who may have flown under the radar is a man who is already an established G-league talent. Dakota Mathias spent last season with the Texas Legends (affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks) and put up 18.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. He ranked second in the league in 3-point shots made, making 39.5% of his attempts. It’s safe to say he fits right in with the Sixers’ new ‘Morey-Ball’ trend.

Mathias was formerly a UDFA who signed for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018 before joining Divina Seguros Joventut in the top flight of Spanish basketball, Liga ACB. An ankle injury sidelined him during the Winter and it would become a nagging problem throughout the remainder of the season, prompting the team to part ways with him.

Mathias played his college ball at Purdue, where he averaged 2.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists, while shooting .466 from three-point range as a senior. That 3-point mark was the sixth-highest in the nation. He is also Purdue’s all-time leader in three-pointers made.

The Sixers have a very raw shooter in their hands in the way of the 6’4, 200 lbs shooting guard, who will benefit from some real proven shooting talent to learn from during camp. He’s not the most complete guard and will need to add some defensive prowess to his game. It will be very interesting to see how the Bluecoats can develop the game of someone who excels in shooting and could well be close to a bench role if he can expand his skillset.

Mathias will wear No. 33 for the 76ers. 

Photo by Kyusung Gong/Icon Sportswire