- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Boris Diaw would be quite the pickup for the Boston Celtics.The Charlotte Bobcats and Boris Diaw have agreed to a buyout, according to the Charlotte Observer, making the soon-to-be 30-year-old center available (though early indications are he might be pegged for San Antonio). Should the Celtics consider him if he examines other options? It makes some sense as Diaw has a little bit of Kevin Garnett (his pass-first mentality) and Rasheed Wallace (his much-scrutinized conditioning) in him. Let's break it down:
* While buyout pickings are often slim, Diaw will have plenty of interest being a big man that has averaged 9.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists over nine NBA seasons. After three years as a full-time starter in Charlotte, he moved to a reserve role this season in Charlotte and his offensive production suffered because of it. Despite his talent, you'll hear more about the negatives with Diaw.
* As proof, here's John Hollinger's scouting report that harps on the conditioning issues:
Whoever wrote that French people don't get fat clearly never went to a Bobcats game. Although Diaw's conditioning has had surprisingly little effect on his game, he's clearly been living large of late. It hasn't affected his hunger for passing, however, as he led all power forwards in Pure Point Rating and assist ratio. Diaw eats up small defenders on the left block, where he has a nice right-handed jump hook shot, but the hard part is persuading him to shoot. He averaged just 13.3 points per 40 minutes, even though he's become a decent mid-range shooter that hit 44.6 percent of his long 2s last season and shot 34.5 percent on 3s. He chews up most big men off the dribble, too, with his superior ballhandling skills, but in spite of all that he finished below the league average for power forwards in usage rate. His rebounding famine is another problem. While Diaw has advantages in most respects at the power forward spot, he rebounds like a wing. His conditioning is part of the issue, plus he's not a leaper and he's a bit undersized. He was second-to-last among power forwards in rebound rate at a pathetic 9.0.
* His offensive numbers this season are truly an eyesore. Diaw grades out as poor, averaging a mere 0.716 points per play (14th percentile), according to Synergy Sports data. What's more, he grades as poor in transition, putbacks, and pick-and-roll, while also being below average in spot up and post situations (his two most frequent play types, accounting for 43.4 percent of his total offensive possessions). His offensive rating this season is a mere 89 (though 106 for his career).
* Charlotte coach Paul Silas detailed the frustrations with Diaw earlier this month. From the Observer:
“I like a player who is really committed to not only the team but to himself and then doing the best he can as a player,’’ Silas said. “Some of the things that would go on, like not shooting the ball, passing all of the time’’ were unacceptable. “I needed hoops and he could put the ball in the hoop. When that wouldn’t happen it was very disturbing. I think if he had played all out, the way he should have, it would have been a much, much better club.”
* Diaw and Rajon Rondo are ever-so slightly linked. During the summer of 2005, the Hawks traded Diaw, a 2006 first-round pick (which would later be Rondo), and a 2008 first-round pick (which would later be Robin Lopez) to the Phoenix Suns for Joe Johnson. The Suns drafted Rondo for Boston before a draft-night trade sent him to Boston with Brian Grant for a 2007 first-round pick (which would later be Rudy Fernandez).
Finals thought: Like every big man we've examined in this space, Diaw is flawed. But he's probably also the most talented overall (the question is simply if his next team can get that talent out of him). He's not the best rebounder and he can't run the floor -- two troubling aspets if you're the Celtics. But for a team desperate for big men, to get one with talented would be a quality haul.
4dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
4dESPN Stats and Information Group
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