Let me be clear, this is not an argument that Boris Diaw is better than AK.
Before we start calling an AK trade the beginning of a Jazz Apocolypse, let's talk about what we could be acquiring here:
A crafty 6-8 European with playoff experience that can play every position.
Like every other Jazz fan I cringed, and was on the verge of losing sleep when I heard the AK rumors. Ak is hands down one of the most creative basketball players at his position. (Every game I go to, I am continually astounded by the size of the man's calves. Seriously, he probably has the thickest calf circumfrence in the NBA). We will all agree AK holds our hearts on this team for his 'ball-hawking' and 'other category' statistics. No doubt.
Here is what I have to say about Boris Diaw. When the game is on the line, he competes. Take this stat line in an elimination game against Turkey at this summer's FIBA championships. 21 pts, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 blocked shot. Sound eerily familiar to an AK stat line? Look at his playoff numbers. Boris Diaw can play. He has a high basketball IQ. And I'm not going to lie, I'm a little excited about bringing in two free agents(Diaw and Raja) that played together under a Mike D'antoni offense.
Let's also bring into the equation that Diaw plays well with an MVP caliber point guard. His 06 playoff averages with the Suns are earth shattering. 18 pts, 7reb, 5ass, 1 steal 1block. (He was also starting at Center). His best numbers are in the playoffs. I love a guy like that.
I agree that defense wins championships. And we lose help side defense with AK. But lets remember that it was a combination of CJ and Wes guarding Kobe and Melo in the playoffs. Lets also remember that Raja is an all first team defense kind of defender. Do you pay an extra for 20 min of helpside defense and 2-3 more blocked shots in the stat line?
At the end of the day it comes down to the inevitable Lakers series. Do we match up better with the Lakers with the addition of Diaw? In my opinion, yes. Lamar Odom kills us every year. His best series is always against the Jazz. I like the Diaw v. Odom matchup. Or the Diaw v. Bynum matchup. Diaw has played Center with multiple teams, and I'm feeling good about throwing an orchestra of Milsap, AL, Memo, Diaw, Fes (if he signs), Elson,Evans(if he makes the team) to fight the three headed monster of Bynum, Gasol, Odom.
I think Diaw will come to play in big games. (how many big games has AK won?) I think he's also mature enough to handle a reserve role, which will only benefit CJ and Milsap. I agree we miss AK on the break, but how can you discount Diaw's ability to play in an uptempo offense? We're getting a better shooter, a better ball handler, a guy that can pass unbelievably well for his size, and a guy that can rebound at any position.
Oh, and we're saving like 8 million.