Despite not being the athlete he was on the Phoenix Suns earlier in his career, Diaw is versatile and is a terrific passer. He won’t put up the numbers that West might, but what makes Diaw the X-factor is his ability to defend multiple positions and create scoring chances for others.
May 2, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forwardBlake Griffin
(32) defends San Antonio Spurs center Boris Diaw (33) in the first half of game seven of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Clippers won 111-109. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
In the postseason, Diaw reaffirmed he is one of the most reliable players off the bench. He tallied 11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists.
Patty Mills, the Spurs backup point guard, is at his best as a scorer. Diaw’s passing out of the post will help Mills attempt open three-pointers, and that perimeter threat will create opportunities for Manu Ginobili and West.
West is a two-time NBA All-Star and averaged 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists last season, but he won’t match Diaw’s value to the second unit.
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Diaw will also help Kyle Anderson adjust to the NBA level, and that on-court relationship might push Anderson toward a breakout second season after being named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP.
Defensively, Diaw will spend some time at center. Since the Spurs lost Tiago Splitter in the offseason, Diaw’s responsibility will only increase. Fortunately, he’s more than capable of filling in wherever the Spurs need him to play.
Expect Diaw to perform at a high level off the Spurs bench, whether it’s at small forward, power forward, or center.