Friday, March 30, 2012

Jackson and Diaw could be Spurs’ missing pieces

This article is cross posted at Spurs World.

The San Antonio Spurs have played consistent basketball throughout this season, some believed they outdid themselves running out of the gates and claiming the second-best record in West despite injuries to key players like Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter.
People tend to forget that last season, the same Spurs team finished the season on top of the Western Conference. Credit should go to coach Gregg Popovich who has done a masterful job of juggling the roster, while giving some of his veterans the needed rest and still managed to pile up wins along the way.
However, San Antonio was still not considered a serious threat to the title this season.
A lot experts predicted that the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Los Angeles Lakers will come out of the West and for a reason — the Spurs have not advanced deep into the playoffs in the past three years.
But the trade and waiver deadlines may have changed the course of the story.
San Antonio was able to got rid of Richard Jefferson and his hefty contract and acquired Stephen Jackson who won a title with the team back in 2003 at the trade deadline.
Don’t get me wrong Jefferson isn’t a bad player, he’s just not a good fit. Jackson on the other hand, fits the Spurs like a glove, and his aggressiveness and swagger makes him a better player.
In six games with the Spurs, Jackson is averaging 10 points and 3.8  rebounds in 23 minutes per game, while shooting 50 percent from the floor.
He gives the Spurs an additional scoring punch that is capable of driving and finishing strong to the hoop. Also, his versatility and tenacity on the defensive end will only make the team better.
The bottom line is, Jackson is a strong and physical player and he shows it on both ends of the floor.
After getting Captain Jack, the Spurs went back to business and acquired another quality player, this time at the waiver wire.
With a thin frontline, the Spurs needed to add another big body in the paint to add depth, and getting a guy like Boris Diaw should be a coup.
Diaw is not a typical big man who bangs in the low block and dominate but his ability to play unselfish basketball and high basketball IQ are enough reasons for the Spurs to be giddy.
The former Bobcat started his Spurs career with three games in his first three nights with the team resulting to all wins.
Diaw played 16 minutes against Dallas barely 24 hours after arriving in San Antonio Friday night. He played 11 more minutes in New Orleans Saturday, and then played 27 minutes in the Spurs’ 93-76 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday with Tiago Splitter being on the side lines.
“I’m learning to play with them and I didn’t get a chance to practice. And I played right away with three games in a row,” Diaw said. “But that’s the NBA. We know that and I’m just glad we took care of these three games.”
Diaw may not fill up the box score. In five games, he is averaging just 2.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists on 41.7 percent shooting in 18 minutes per game, but he does the little things.
A fine example would be the games against Philadelphia and Sacramento.
On Sunday, Diaw took only three shots and scored two points, but grabbed seven rebounds, had two assists and three steals.
On Wednesday, Diaw failed to score for the first time with the Spurs, but he had four rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal in just 18 minutes as San Antonio claimed their sixth straight.
The Spurs may not be favorites to win the title, however, Diaw and Jackson might just be the missing pieces the Spurs needed to get over the hump this time around.
What do you guys think? Will the Spurs be able to seriously compete for the title this season? Share us your thoughts.

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