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?