My Favorite Player, Boris Diaw

When Boris Diaw joined the Phoenix Suns, he became the original “trip-dub” big man.

In 2004-05, the Phoenix Suns were my favorite team.

I had never seen a playstyle like theirs before. It was fast-paced as they tried to score within 7 seconds.

And when they couldn’t get out on the fastbreak, they had their dynamic duo, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, run this beautiful, yet explosive, pick-and-roll.

Because of their new playstyle, the Suns stifled a lot of teams. This led them to 62 wins (good for first in the league) and to the Western Conference Finals (where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs).

The following season, I didn’t expect the Suns to do as well as their first run together.

Stoudemire was injured for the season and Joe Johnson, one of their key starters, was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for a French guy named Boris Diaw and some future first-round picks.

I didn’t know much about Diaw. He didn’t play well in Atlanta as he only averaged 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game in the two seasons with them.

I also didn’t watch the Hawks because they were bad.

So, I didn’t think much about Diaw. I genuinely said, “Who is this guy? Why did they trade for him?”

I thought he was just going to be a guy that came off of the bench during garbage time.

Boy, was I wrong!

When he got comfortable with the Suns’ system and with his new position, he contributed to every category.

See, Diaw came into the league as a shooting guard. But because the Suns ran a small line-up, he was moved to power forward and center.

But this was a good change for him because it suited his skill set.

Boris Diaw’s First Season With the Phoenix Suns

In the first game that I saw him play in, he (unexpectedly to me) got a near triple-double.

The Suns were playing the Sacramento Kings and it was the fourth game of the season. Diaw came off the bench but played for 28 minutes.

He did everything (as the near triple-double indicates). But unfortunately, the Suns lost to the Kings by one point in a high-scoring game (for those days, anyway). The final score was 118-117.

Diaw ended the game with 11 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds.

This was just the beginning of his legacy.

Throughout the season, Diaw slowly became the second playmaker and defensive anchor on the starting lineup.

He helped Nash set up plays and helped Shawn Marion protect the basket.

He became an all-around guy.

He even received the nickname 3D for his multidimensional play and his motto “drive, dish, defend.”

By the end of the 2005-06 season, he averaged 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1 block per game.

Pretty good stats for a third-year guy that barely anyone knew of, right?

Well, he exceeded those stats in the playoffs.

In his first playoff experience, he was a starter and he averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game.

The Suns made a return to the Western Conference Finals, but, similar to the previous season, they lost to a Texas team (the Dallas Mavericks).

Unfortunately, this was the only good season Diaw had with the Suns.

Stoudemire came back the following season and the two didn’t mesh. I’m not sure why but it likely has to do with their playing styles and positions.

Diaw, however, still played 31 minutes a game but his stats weren’t as full as the previous season’s.

The End of Boris Diaw’s Campaign With The Suns

Diaw stayed on the team until December of 2008 when he was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats.

I continued to follow his career and cheer for him because I really liked his style of play.

He played well in Charlotte but it wasn’t until he joined the San Antonio Spurs that he achieved that one thing that all pro basketball players seek.

In his third year with the team, he helped them win the championship title against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Similar to what he did in Phoenix, he contributed wherever the Spurs needed him to contribute.

But his main contribution definitely was his playmaking.

He embodied the Spurs’ ball movement and I truly believe that if the team didn’t have him, they wouldn’t have won the 2013-14 NBA Championship.

He ended the Finals with averages of 6.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists.

Final Thoughts

Diaw is one of my favorite players.

I love big players who play an all-around game. He’s special and I’m pretty sure he was key in revolutionizing how some big guys play (like Nikola Jokic).

But what are your thoughts on Boris Diaw? Do you think he paved the way for playmaking bigs?