The San Antonio Spurs bolstered their depth when they added forward Boris Diaw late this season and so far, it seems to have been a positive pickup.
Since joining the Spurs, Diaw is averaging 4.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 57% shooting from the field in 20 minutes per game. And although those numbers may not stand out, considering he is playing on what is arguably one of the NBA's deepest bench, it is the intangibles he also brings to the team.
He is a solid passer for a big man, brings NBA experience, and is already familiar with the Spurs' system considering the French national team run a similar style.
In an interview with French site Le'Equipe, Diaw spoke on his adjustment with San Antonio.
Everything is going very well. I'm still in the adjustment period, which is perfectly normal. I need some time to learn all the systems as there are a whole lot (smile). I take my bearings gradually with my new teammates constantly observing how they move in order to best integrate the philosophy of team play. Knowing that the group is well oiled, I must blend in. I have to learn to play with my teammates, my teammates but also must learn to play with me.
As far as his role with the Spurs, Diaw said coach Popovich wants him to be a facilitator.
I was recruited to evolve primarily as a forward. But since I arrived, Gregg Popovich is using me at all positions. He wants me to be a "facilitator" of the team, to help to better move the ball and I bring my experience and my knowledge of the game to the group. To summarize, I have to serve the team.
However, make no mistake, Diaw is happy to be with the Spurs than his former team, the Bobcats.
I am very happy to be with one of the best teams in the league. The big difference between the Bobcats and Spurs is the fact that these two teams are not aimed at all the same goals. In Charlotte, the goal of the season was to try to fight to hold on eighth place in the playoffs. In San Antonio, it's another world. The sole objective of the franchise is to fight for the title.
Diaw also spoke on the strengths of the Spurs.
Our main strength lies in the team. Here, everything is set like clockwork. Each player knows exactly what to do on the court, nothing is left to chance. In addition I also think that our group, beyond being very talented and experienced, is very deep. Our bench is very deep, it is very important because the season is more compact. I truly believe that we are one of the most complete teams in the NBA.
Of course, being on the same team with his fellow French countryman, Tony Parker, is also an added bonus for Diaw.
I am very happy to be on the same team with him. Instead of seeing only two months in the year when we are together with the French team, I see every day (smile). This is something great to play with him, for sure. Everyone knows that we get along well on and off the court, so I am very pleased to be moving in the same team with him. When you are traded, knowing that you will join a team with your friend is a huge advantage. Tony helps me a lot. For example, I stayed with him since I arrived in San Antonio.
But with the 2012 London Olympic games fast approaching, Diaw still hopes to play for France even if the Spurs reach the NBA Finals.
I do not plan even beyond the end of the NBA regular season, but I have no apprehension over the possibility. We still, I hope, have a lot of games left with San Antonio and I take things one after the other. If we reach the finals with the Spurs, it would be, for Tony and myself, physically preparing for the French team. In this case, we will surely be much more ready physically rather than coming in after several weeks of vacation.
What do you have to say Spurs fans? Have you been satisfied with the addition of Diaw?
Boris Diaw is a tremendus acquisition. He has fit in perfectly with the Spurs' concept and has a unique ability to be in exactly the right spots at the most oppurtune times. It's hard to see any drop-off in efficiency whenever Boris comes in. Great attitude, unselfish and great hustle for his size ...another winner for the Spurs organization.
Physical conditioning means much to the spurs. I think Diaw cam onboard overweight. He should by now have ridden of the extra weight. Its almost championship time and everyone is expected to give his best, Diaw included..
I take him over Blair on both ends to be honest, well that still doesn't say much. Although it seemed like he can play better with Tim and Tiago since he can spread the floor and opponents have to respect his shooting ability. He's a decent one on one defender and he does a better job in pick and roll than Blair, my only concern is rebounding with him which seems to be average at best.
@Spursforever69 you think Blair is expendable now?
@JeffProjectSpurs I'm not denying the fact that Blair has had his moments 20-20s and a few impressive performances against OKC. The fact remains that he is average on offense and below average on defense and excellent on rebounding, that's all he's ever going to be. I used to think he could turn into a charles barkley type, running up and down the floor and developing a jump shot that would make him pretty tough to guard, but his shot still is abysmal (thankfully he's not taking more of those), for lack of size you need to be special to make it up and Blair is not. I don't think he should start I rather have Diaw or Bonner start and the 2nd unit is talented enough to score without Bonner spreading the floor for them.
I think you are flat out WRONG here. Offensively, he is better than Diaw in the post and dangerously close to being better than Tiago. Not to mention Dejuan is averaging about 10 ppg while only playing about 21 minutes a game. Dejuan's floater/teardrop has looked SPECTACULAR this year - how can you argue that? His patience in the post has gotten better and in all seriousness, he has improved in all facets of his game (except maturity... but he is getting there). As far a jump shot? Whatever. lol He can have one or not have one. TP didn't have a jump shot for years! Why do you want DeJuan Blair to be a shooter when we already have shooters? DeJuan needs to be the paint player he is.
I think he rebounds well for his size, but I don't think he is "excellent on rebounding". Same goes for defense.
Blair needs something special to make up for his height? Let's start with passing, basketball IQ, court awareness and not to mention he has GREAT hands. I've seem him pick the pocket of some great ball handlers including Kobe and Durant. Oh yeah... there were 2 Spurs that were in the top 30 last year in total steals (not spg). Guess who? Manu and Blair
@JeffProjectSpurs @Spursforever69 I wouldn't say Blair is expendable; I think Blair is a great asset to have (especially for the price). Let's see what happens after his rookie contract is over, though. I think every season he has gotten better and smarter. He needs to mature a little more (IMO) but the fact still remains that he is our 3rd best post player behind Timmy and Tiago.
Diaw is a great shooter, passer and has surprised me defensively. I hope he continues to improve in our system and he can only get better. He also comes off well spoken and intelligent in this interview.
I remember Garnett did an interview after Hurricane Katrina and sounded like a buffoon. "Der was so much watuh... I 'membuh thinkin' man... i aint neva seen dis much watuh..."
I don't think Diaw's success is what dictates Blair's future as a Spur. Blair was always going to be "trade bait" if he didn't cut it this season. Like I said, he is great for the money he is being paid but as soon as that rookie contract is up, we'll really have to re-evaluate whether or not he is worth the money. A rookie contract with the Spurs is more or less an audition and if you don't grow in your role and become what we drafted you to be - see ya! In example: George Hill. He is a great player as well as an exceptional human being, but he never became the starting 1 or 2 guard that we needed him to be.
We were always going to get another 4/5 this season, and Blair's future as a Spur was in jeopardy whether we signed Diaw or Dawson.
With ALL THAT being said, I think Blair's fate lies within the 2012 playoffs - mark those words.
i can only hope. blair is sooooo predictable its not even funny. he cant defend though he has gotten somewhat better. he has 3-5 good games a season, and 10 OK games and about 20-30 serviceable games the rest of the season is a waste IMO. spurs have no picks in the 1st round so maybe trading blair for say a 15-20 would be possible. 20-30 would be more realistic. this is of course if diaw sticks around, he is only signed till the end of the season.