Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum may receive a lot more notoriety, stemming from their ability to score often and easily, but Boris Diaw’s subtle playmaking ability remains an essential facet of France’s offensive arsenal.
Diaw’s passing, for example, allows Parker to run around curl screens, giving Les Bleus a more auspicious situation than a traditional pick-and-roll creates because the defender has less time to recover. Without their quasi-quarterback under center, France is limited to more basic options. Simple isn’t necessarily worse but against more talented international teams, their offense requires diversity to compensate for their deficient talent.
It’s the same way in the NFL: The Cleveland Browns may be able to skate by their competition if they limit their mistakes by simplifing their offense. Any elite offense, meanwhile, needs a semblance of deception to highlight their strengths. What’s more deceptive than a power forward stepping out and threading the needle to his speedy point guard?
Diaw is, as Parker noted, France’s playmaker. When their offense is manufacturing high percentage attempts (lay-ups, dunks), it gives the French shooters a little more room to operate, though they are currently shooting an anemic 28.8% from behind the arc through three games.
“Boris is our playmaker on the field,” Parker said. “When you get lay-ups and it helps when Boris, Kevin and Ali are also (getting) lay-ups, the defenders are obliged to help, so we are left alone … (to) find our shooters.”
Diaw put together his most complete game to date, totaling 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds in France’s 82-74 victory over Lithuania. While he only ranks fifth in scoring on Les Bleus, his 12 assists lead the team, indicating that his impact can’t be measured like typical power forwards.
“Boris was enormous,” Parker said. “If he plays like that, one can go far … and it’s easier to (play) basketball.”
Any team could use a Boris Diaw because, well, life is always better when it’s easier.