Best Surprise Since Diaw?
By Travis Huse
Being Spurs fans, we are always looking to see what new experiment GM R.C. Buford can give to Gregg Popovich. Over and over, players who look like they are about to wash out of the league some to San Antonio and drink the miracle elixir that is the Riverwalk water.
Disclaimer: Air Alamo holds no legal compensation if you do that. The water is pretty gross.
It has gotten to the point where the league and fans know that they are about to see a career resurgence in these players, as the success rate would make any statistician blush. Just a simple glance at the 2014 NBA Championship Spurs roster shows how much this tactic means to the franchise. Danny Green? Waived by the Cavs, and after some D-League time, became a legendary 3-point shooter. Patty Mills? Nobody would ever have thought that he would push Tony Parker for playing time.
One of our biggest success stories to date was Boris Diaw. He was fat, slow, and so bad that not even the Bobcats had a use for him. And we are talking about the Bobcats in 2012. His win shares from 2012 to 2013 went from 0.6 to 4.4. That is insane. And lest you have any doubt that it was the Spurs system that created that leap, his PER last year with the Spurs? 14.0. This year with the Jazz? 7.8. He is a prototypical player who gets that sweet, sweet Spurs bump. There is a reason why players don’t leave the team.
But I have even higher hopes for a Spur here in his first year, and he is an even more unlikely character than Bobo: David Lee.
Now, those Spurs fans who are waiting until the playoffs to tune in to the Silver and Black and fans of other teams might be astounded that a guy who floundered on the Mavericks and Celtics last year could immediately make an impact on a team as structured on the Spurs. But even beyond stats, the eye test is staggering. Dude is making $1.5 mm on a 2-year contract, one of the best deals in the league.
Part of this, of course, is his ability to stay healthy this season. That could change in an instant, but his role as Diaw/David West should keep the strain down, as well as Pop’s rest regimen. But come on, let’s live in the present here. He has his best true shooting percentage in a decade! His defensive plus-minus is the best it’s ever been!
Feb 4, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward David Lee (10) grabs a rebound against the Denver Nuggets during the second half at the AT&T Center. The Spurs won 121-97. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
For playoff Spurs fans, like us Easter-and-Christmas Catholics, you might want to join the Spurs Nuns and tune in. It’s fun. Real fun.