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Diaw featured in Film Room All-Stars

SB Nation's NBA editor Mike Prada looks at the players this year who make a major impact on their team that goes beyond the surface level.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Boris won't be playing in the game in New Orleans, but he did make one all-star team. Prada makes his picks in an unconventional look at players in the league. Here's how he describes it.

I highlighted one player on each team who makes a major impact in ways that go beyond the surface level. None would be considered the best player on their teams, and many don't put up gaudy numbers, but all were essential to their squad's success. Almost all of them were also the types of players who are more important to their own teams than they would be to anyone else's.

Now that we're halfway into the season, it's time to unveil which 12 players in each conference best embody that spirit.

I encourage you to read the entire piece, it's a good way to learn more about players that aren't marquee names around the league (and our old friend George Hill makes the list). Here's the part on Diaw:

Diaw, too, has thrived as a jack-of-all-trades forward for a Spurs bench that is carrying the team while the starting lineup has been weirdly ineffective. San Antonio is the perfect place to take advantage of Diaw's idiosyncratic offensive game. The Spurs randomly let him post up, and he's looked to score just enough to activate his fantastic passing skills. He's also one of the very best in the league at setting up to screen on one side, then darting around to the other side at the last minute before the defense can change its alignment. This is a textbook example against the Suns.


Surprisingly, he's been even more important defensively. Last year's Spurs rode Tiago Splitter's rim protection hard and became an elite defense because of it. This year, though, Splitter hasn't been as effective, and he's now out for an extended period of time. Still, the Spurs are a top-five unit this year, in large part because they've given Diaw more minutes to guard more types of players. Boris can guard larger wings, stretch 4s and traditional post-up players because he's quicker than you'd think. Look at how he recovers to the dangerous Frye here.


Would this happen on a team that needed him to be more conventional? Probably not. But that's the whole point of this team, isn't it?

If you missed it before, here's how I feel about Bobo.