Spurs Look to Take a Low-Cost Gamble on Boris Diaw
We're not yet a week removed from an NBA trade deadline that saw San Antonio take a chance on old friend/overbearing gunner Stephen Jackson, and the Spurs are already prepared to take a shot at another...shall we say, difficult player.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, San Antonio is currently pursuing the recently waived Boris Diaw—a problematic player in his own regard and yet one who stands as the virtual opposite of Jackson.
Unlike Jackson, whose enduring basketball flaw seems to be his tendency to overextend his game beyond efficiency or logic, Diaw is largely as passive as passive comes. There's no question that a focused Diaw can do great things for a team's offense as a willing distributor and versatile scorer.
However, the central problem is that he's so infrequently motivated; teams have learned all too well to not take Diaw's attention for granted, as he can't often be troubled to do things like defend consistently, box out his man or even look to score. The latter is especially peculiar; rare is the player who is so aggressively passive as to be unfazed even by the opportunity to put up points.
It's understandable that the Spurs are confident in their culture and their collective ability to maximize the effectiveness of a wayward vet like Diaw, but it's worth considering if Gregg Popovich, R.C. Buford and company are overshooting their mark here.
Pop's track record with these kinds of reclamation projects goes without saying, but Diaw's listlessness puts him in a very different mold; he's similar to many a former Spur in that he's a talent who could benefit from role definition, but the challenge he presents is more akin to that of Jackie Butler than Jackson.
Not that this move doesn't make a ton of sense; as Zach Lowe noted at SI.com's The Point Forward, a fully actualized Diaw represents a compromise from the current poles of Spur big men (Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair). He meshes several aspects of each player's skill set into a less-extreme alternative, and though, he doesn't solve any of San Antonio's problems, necessarily, Diaw could hypothetically help to make some of their weaknesses less profound, and thereby, less exploitable.
Plus, the most relevant notion of all: with a decent potential return, a minimum offer as the only risk, a coach who understands how to utilize unique players, and an established framework of success, why the hell not?
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