May 27, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw (33) attempts a shot against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the third quarter in game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Finals: Why Boris Diaw is the San Antonio Spurs MVP


Watching Boris Diaw play is like watching a French Bear doing the tango—albeit successfully.

Boris, or as Air Alamo likes to call him, Cake Eater, plays with amazing finesse for 6-8, 250 lb. frame. He can play any position on the court due to his offensive, defensive and passing abilities.

Here’s why Diaw is the most important player on the San Antonio Spurs:  (all stats from NBA.com)

 

1. Offensive Ability

Diaw is an amazing offensive basketball player: He’s great at setting screens, cutting, moving within the offense, rolling after a screen, posting up, passing the ball and even can hit the occasional three, which makes him even more deadly from all areas on the court. 

He fits perfectly into a Spurs offense that excels when using a point forward at the 4. The Spurs best offensive lineups always include Boris: Of the 16 Spurs lineups that have played at least 30 minutes together, Boris is in all top ten.

 

2. Passing Ability 

For Diaw, it seems passing is his basketball love—setting up his teammates with great looks. His assist numbers are down from when he played with the Phoenix Suns, but this is because he is simply more aggressive in San Antonio and is asked to fulfill a different role; but he’s still an amazing passer.

Boris often threads the needle to Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter, or whips a 30-foot pass around a defender to an open teammate for three. He is one of the main reasons that the Spurs’ second unit is the best in the NBA, aside from their stellar shooting, of course. 

 

3. Defensive Ability

On paper, the Frenchman doesn’t look like a great defender (as well as when you look at him). But, if you watch the Spurs on defense, you can tell he’s better than his critics say. Sure, he doesn’t have the height that would allow him to protect the rim like Tim, nor is he quick enough to cover some of the more athletic bigs in the NBA, like Kawhi Leonard; but he works perfectly within the Spurs defensive system.

He is rarely out of position, too. Anyone who backs him down, has to deal with 250 pounds worth of chubby body. In the 2013 NBA Finals, he did a great job of holding LeBron James in certain situations, and in this years Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he did a good job on Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.

Nobody outside of Spurs affiliation would think of Boris Diaw as a threat—and that’s what the Spurs love about him: a secret weapon.

Boris helps the Spurs offense run like a well oiled machine, and this is what makes him the Spurs MVP.

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