The San Antonio Spurs continue to prove that age will not slow them down, and thus far 2013 has proven no different as the team has raced out to a 7-1 start. Many wrote them off as being too old last year when they made it all the way to the NBA Finals, and this year they are still not yet being considered one of the favorites to represent the West.
But let’s be real here; any team coached by Greg Popovich and a big three of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili can never be written off. But the reason the Spurs have been able to stay competitive is the supporting cast around them. Each player has a different role and they all play it well. Kawhi Leonard is the athletic defender on the wing, Danny Green is the spot-up shooter and Matt Bonner is the three point specialist.
But the added contributions they have been getting from Boris Diaw thus far have been a pleasant surprise. The thing Diaw brings to the table is versatility. He can defend multiple positions, he is an incredible passer for a big man and is a very good leader on a team full of them already. Diaw so far is averaging 10.3 points per game, almost double his career average with the Spurs and his highest total since the 2010-11 season.
The best thing about Diaw is that he can perform adequately as a starter and off the bench. So far he has started four games while Tim Duncan was injured and came off the bench for the other four. His playing time was about the same (25 minutes as starter, 23 as reserve) and his production was actually higher off the bench (11.3 ppg compared to 9.3 as starter).
The success of the Spurs hinges on the role players just as much as the big three, and so far this season Boris Diaw is playing a bigger role than some people might have expected.