Boris Diaw has been hearing all his career that he needs to shoot the ball more. His scoring has now gone up to 10.8 points per game, compared to 5.8 points last season.
Countless times he has left Spurs fans curious and upset when he passes a clearly open shot up to give a teammate the scoring opportunity. Considering that he entered the league as a guard, isn’t that what he’s supposed to want to do?
Diaw’s field goal attempts have nearly doubled since last season, going from 4.4 to 8.5 attempts per game in this young season, helping the Spurs get off to an 8-1 start. Not only that, but his usage percentage has gone from 12 percent to 19.9 percent, which is a career high.
After a decade in the NBA, it took some international competition to get the scoring out of Boris. Tony Parker said Scorin’ Boris was born when he helped the French national team win the gold in this summer’s EuroBasket tournament:
“He played like that all summer,” Parker said. “He’s a big reason why we won the gold medal. He was very aggressive in taking shots. He’s doing the same thing here.”
This aggression from Diaw can be a huge benefit for the Spurs. There’s no player in the frontcourt that has his distributing and outside shooting abilities. With nearly twice as many attempts, his field goal percentage has also increased from 53.9 percent, currently at 55.3 percent, making him an overall bigger threat on the offensive end.
So why the big change in shot selection? According to Diaw, he’s simply carrying through with what head coach Gregg Popovich has asked him to do. Perhaps Pop said that in a little more serious tone.
Boris Diaw averaging 10.3 points on 8.5 FGA. Does Pop expect Scorin’ Boris to keep up his aggressiveness? “Sure,” Pop says, “Or sit.”
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) November 12, 2013
Another huge reason why he’s key for the Spurs is his work on the defensive side of the floor. He’s no Joakim Noah in the paint or Tony Allen from the perimeter, but he has an uncanny ability to defend well, despite his weight issues that he still faces.
In the NBA Finals, he saw minutes against LeBron James and also had the assignment of Carmelo Anthony when the Spurs visited the New York Knicks on Sunday. Anthony finished the night with 16 points, his lowest of the season so far, as the Spurs routed New York 120-89.
This sudden surge of scoring and rounding out as a player will also do Diaw well when this season is over. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent and can use this strength to his advantage when negotiating with the Spurs.
He’s become a key part of the Spurs rotation and is adding to the talents he brings on the court for the team. If he helps bring title No. 5 to San Antonio, the Spurs may not be able to say no to him.