Jun 12, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (left) and forward Boris Diaw (33) react during the fourth quarter of game four of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. San Antonio Spurs won 107-86. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Finals: Boris Diaw once set down cappucino, jumps like Amare

Boris Diaw changes the way the San Antonio Spurs play, but never before these NBA Finals had we seen such stretches of brilliance. At least, we hadn’t witnessed the peak of Diaw since he filled in for Amare Stoudemire back in 2005-06. ESPN’s Marc Stein, with the help of former Phoenix Suns basketball ops man Amin Elhassan, dug up some fun tidbits on Diaw to get a better grasp of one of the most unique players in the NBA today.

Two stories will pop out of the page if you’re a Suns fan.

The first comes from current Cleveland Cavaliers general manager and former Phoenix front office member David Griffin.

“Boris walks into the gym one day wearing flip-flops and holding his customary cappuccino, which was a staple for him every morning,” Griffin recalled. “It was during pre-draft workouts, so he sees the Vertec [machine] and asks what it is.

“We tell him it measures your vertical leap by determining how many of the bars you can touch. He asks what’s the highest anyone has ever gone, and we tell him Amare’ [Stoudemire] cleared the entire rack.

“Boris puts down the cappuccino, takes off his flip-flops and clears the entire rack on the first try. Then he calmly puts his flip-flops back on, picks up his cappuccino and walks away, saying, ‘That was not difficult.’”

It’s true that Diaw’s athleticism is often overlooked and in the story it’s suggested that maybe he just doesn’t use it to his full potential. But Diaw has to be a better athlete than we give him credit for, considering his doughy physique somehow moves laterally enough where he can guard LeBron James.

Another fun anecdote: two-time MVP Steve Nash addressed Diaw’s strange choice of shot selection. You remember those. Driving to the hoop and getting all the way there, but instead of taking the layup, passing it out for a corner three.

“I yelled at him, Raja (Bell) yelled at him, everyone was yelling at him: ‘Borrrrris! Just f—— lay it in. You’re right on top of the rim. We need your points, man. Don’t you understand? The layup is wide open!’

And he just said: ‘That’s what you think.’

“You know what? In looking back, maybe he was right. It was infuriating at the time, but when you watch him play, you realize that he sees things other people don’t see. Such a smart, smart player.”

Yep. That’s Boris Diaw. Always a mystery.

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Great read Kevin! This story is great follow-up to Ryan’s article on Love not being a worthwhile acquisition. Diaw was easily the MVP runner-up to Leonard using the +/- stat so many here are fond of. Has Diaw put a team on his shoulders and carry them into the playoffs? Does he put up monster stats? He wasn’t even a starter a couple of games ago.

    Love isn’t going to the #1 option or only star player for Phoenix. He just needs to play his game and take some pressure off of Dragic and Bledsoe or whomever is left on the Suns.

    Sure, Ed Davis and Jordan Hill are nice role players but Love already gets you 25 and 12 and even 4 dimes per game.

    Lebron James is the best player in the world and Wade and Bosh weren’t enough. Suns NEED ball players, not more role players.

  • KlausFlouride

    Where’s Robby? Another notch on the belt. You know, I’ll be crucified for this, but I have a hard time not rooting for the Spurs since they have rid themselves of Big Shot Bob and Bowen.