Blazers’ Nicolas Batum knows a thing or two about San Antonio Spurs’ Boris Diaw.
Not only do both hail from France, they have played together for Team France in international competition and have battled on the court in the NBA.
However, at the end of the day, they are friends first and when Batum saw Diaw and his other French fellow countryman, Tony Parker, win the 2014 NBA title together, Batum was happy for the two, especially Diaw.
Via Bleacher Report:
Bleacher Report: What was your reaction when Tony Parker and Boris Diaw won the championship?
Nicolas Batum: I wanted them to do it and get a ring, especially Boris. Tony had three rings already, but Boris didn’t have one.
B/R: What has impressed you about Boris’ evolution in San Antonio?
NB: He’s playing the best basketball of his career. I remember in Phoenix, he was great, he was younger, he was athletic, but I’ve never seen him that good all over the court. He’s smarter and knows how to use his body better in the post.
Diaw was important during the Spurs’ march to title No. 5 in franchise history. He presented a huge defensive mismatch for Miami while averaging 6.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists in versus the Heat.
From his basketball IQ, chemistry with Parker, and the stretch-four the Spurs need, his importance to the team did not go unnoticed, as the Spurs will re-sign Diaw to a 3-year deal worth a reported $22.5 million.
And he is worth every penny as San Antonio will need Diaw if they want any shot at repeating as champs – something the franchise has never done.
As for Batum and Diaw, the two will join forces for Team France this summer at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain where Diaw can elaborate more on what makes the Spurs so special.
Something Batum knows first hand.
B/R: Your Blazers saw the Spurs’ hyperefficient offense up close in the playoffs this year. What made it so effective?
NB: It’s just about wins. They don’t care about numbers. They just want to be the best team on the scoreboard at the end. It’s not about points or assists. They just care about the next guy, playing together, ball movement and winning games. It’s just team basketball. They don’t do anything crazy when you watch them. They just pass the ball, move the ball, [make the] extra pass and they get wide-open shots. That’s it—that’s all they do.