ESPN has officially embarked on their quest to rank the top 500 NBA players for the upcoming season. As each Spur is listed, I will provide a synopsis and a brief take on why they deserve (or don’t) this ranking.
Boris Diaw was the perfect liaison, the perfect conduit, the perfect pathway to the rim. In the context of the Spurs’ passing intensive offensive, of course.
Diaw was routinely one of the most selfless players on the team, if not aggressively apathetic towards shooting, and likely compiled the most “hockey assists” (the pass that leads to the pass that ends with an assist) due to the nature of his game.
He only averaged 4.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 games with San Antonio, however, but those numbers don’t do his crafty game justice. There is more cause to worry: Diaw accumulated an unsustainable shooting efficiency and that will decrease his effectiveness in a full season. But, on the same token, he committed a turnover on 28.1% of his possessions, significantly higher than his career average. Both are likely to decrease this season and a full training camp will aid in his already seamless transition to the Spurs offense.
The ESPN NBA rank committee ranked Diaw as the 162nd best player as he dropped a total of one spot from last year.
My take. NBA fan William Vega made an interesting point: he asserted on Twitter that Diaw would have been 250 spots lower had he played out his entire season with Charlotte. This is probably an exaggeration but the difference between Diaw in Charlotte and Diaw in San Antonio is a completely invigorated Spurs offense with Diaw on the floor. They scored 113.6 points per 100 possessions and also played lockdown defense, allowing 96.6 points per 100 possessions.
Statistics will never properly credit Diaw but this ranking is fair for a player that can excel in an optimal environment and grossly under perform in a poor environment.