|Photo from playmakeronline.com
While I could certainly go on about the fact that my Rangers are going to bounce back and take Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, this isn't exactly the place for that story. My topic stands at 6 foot 8, weighs 215 pounds, and is one of the weirdest players in the league. And he's also one of the most exciting.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Boris Diaw. Yes, the man who was shunned by the Bobcats for being fat is now a key player in a championship series, and is about to have a whole article written by me, praising him and only him. The latter honor is the more important one, as he'll join the ranks of legends such as Zack Wheeler, Mike Trout, Matt Harvey, Matt Harvey, Grady Sizemore, who essentially was my entire MLB Preview, Matt Harvey, Dwight Howard, Kostas Papanikolau, James Harden, Mike Trout again, (say it with me...) Matt Harvey, Mack Wheelvey, and Geno Smith; an article which turned out to be six times more popular than everything I've ever written, thanks to it becoming popular in Ukraine, which sounds like a really bad joke. But it's not.
Diaw came into the league as part of the famous 2003 Draft, being picked towards the end of the first round by the Hawks as an oversized point guard. Mike D'Antoni turned him into an undersized power foward two years later in Phoenix, and he took off. He was so good, in fact, that I had to pick him up in my SIKids fantasy basketball league, along with Trenton Hassell. He was a great presence in the 06 playoffs, averaging 18.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. He got himself paid two years later thanks to his continued success picking and rolling with Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire.
But then, he was traded to Charlotte, where he eventually fell out of favor. His stats don't look that horrible, but prior to his release in March 2012, the prevalent story about him was talking about his weight. Sort of like Raymond Felton in Portland...or now in New York, Diaw was dealing with critics from every angle. Much like my Knicks hopefully do to their now-useless point guard, Diaw was forced out, and was signed two days later by the Spurs.
Gregg Popovich found himself a new weapon. Diaw is easily the best big man passer in the NBA, having the advantage over guys like Marc Gasol and Anthony Davis because he played the guard position at a high level, so he'd been used to handling the ball. He's much quicker than he looks, as he has the ability to drive to the hoop despite his oddly high dribble, and either finish, dump it off, or kick it out to a probably wide open shooter. It's very fun to watch the Spurs run their offense through him, because he's such an outlier, and fills an important role.
So here's to Boris Diaw, and point centers everywhere. Keep on being weird.
I'll be back with a preview of Game 2 in tomorrow's column. Let's go Rangers.