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March 08, 2011

Diaw: Skilled, savvy, unreliable

In my game story in Tuesday’s Observer, I called Boris Diaw an “amusing, maddening enigma.’’ I think most of you know what I mean.

          At the precise moment he was exhausting his employers’ patience – it was apparent coach Paul Silas was considering replacing Diaw with Tyrus Thomas as a starter, and still could eventually – he pops up with this near-triple double.

          I thought Shaun Livingston – also a player of rare skill and basketball savvy – summed up what Diaw could be quite regularly: “When he asserts himself and plays aggressively, we can beat anybody in the NBA. He’s that much of an X factor.’’

          I’m glad Shaun said that. It wasn’t a rip, but it acknowledged two things: Diaw has a special set of skills and we seldom see them to maximum effect. When Silas recently called Diaw a “finesse’’ power forward, that was not meant as a compliment.

          Everyone isn’t wired the same. I’m not sure it’s possible to light a fire under Diaw regularly. Monday reminded us what happens when he’s motivated and assertive: The matchup hell that made Magic Johnson impossible to stop.

          He’s no Magic, not that anyone is. But he’s also far less most nights than what he might be. He can be such an asset to this Bobcats team, desperate for a way to compensate for Stephen Jackson’s injury and Gerald Wallace’s trade.

          I just don’t know if he’ll ever be reliable enough to make that happen.

    Some other things worth passing on:

    -- The Bobcats said post-game that Thomas has been medically cleared for a full-contact pratice Tuesday. If that goes well, he'll be activated (either Wednesday against the Bulls or Friday against the Blazers).

Silas will be happy to have him back, particularly as a shotblocker. I wouldn't have a problem with Silas starting Thomas, considering Diaw's performance, but I think some of you get ahead of yourselves: Thomas has a wealth of talent, but he needs to play under control. Kind of like that running back who rushes into the hole so fast he never gets to make a fake. Still, I'm glad he's here.

-- The Bobcats are discussing some sort of tribute to Gerald Wallace before Friday's home game against the Blazers. Plans aren't set yet, but I'm glad they understand that to not publicly appreciate what this guy contributed would lack class. Wallace should eventually be the first jersey in the rafters of Time Warner Cable Arena.


Posted by Observer Sports on March 8, 2011 at 12:03 AM | Permalink


Couldn't agree more about having GW's jersey in the rafters. Not sure it will assuage his ill feelings about the trade though the fans still appreciate what he did here. As for Boris, talented underachievers are a dime a dozen. Potential means nothing. It is performance that counts. He is really frustrating to watch at times and needs to spend some time on the bench until and if he can get the message. He just wanders around out there with that stupid smirk on his face. He should just retire and ride around town on his little nancy boy scooter.

Posted by: Claydog | Mar 8, 2011 6:30:03 AM

Hey Rick - I have to disagree with the notion that Wallace's jersey should be retired. To me, that sets a level of sub-excellence expectations for the entire franchise. Wallace was and is a good, not great, player who plays with passion and hustle. But a single all-star game and one playoff appearance should never constitute getting your jersey hung in the rafters.

Posted by: Keith | Mar 8, 2011 7:25:26 AM

With MJ as an owner if we are only going to hang excellence in the rafters then they will be empty forever.

Posted by: True BBall Fan | Mar 8, 2011 7:30:13 AM

Please stop with his jersey should be up in the rafters... That is a joke and make this organization look even worse nationally than it already does. Just because fans like him we need to hang numbers in the rafters??? Lets face facts here, he is a great guy, hard worker (not as much this year) and an athletic player. But he is an average basketball player. Heck UNC and most other college programs have about 5 or 6 players that match Wallace's height and lengeth and they are even more athletic. It is great to have a player like him on your team and he is a real asset, but he is no where near a star in the NBA. If we are going to hang jersey's up why not Brevon Knight or Raymond Felton as well. Heck for a while people were in love with Matt Carrol so lets get his jersey up there as well. This city is too quick to turn on an owner the second something goes wrong. Not every team can win a championship or make the playoffs. What Jordan is doing is setting this team up to hopefully be something special and have options. With Wallace and Nazr that was going to be impossible for 2 years. If Wallace would have not signed here because he wanted to go to a big market and/or a championship caliber team would you turn on him and hate him for all the wrong he did you?

Posted by: kman | Mar 8, 2011 8:16:44 AM

The Bobcats couldnt beat a top ten college team. What a poor excuse for a NBA team. This team is headed nowhere fast!

Posted by: JD | Mar 8, 2011 8:23:38 AM

Rick, has any reporter ever asked Diaw very directly, and very politely but bluntly, why he seems motivated and gives max effort about every 5th game? If everybody else is calling him out (from coach to owner to players) why not the press? You have pointed time and again in previous articles to Diaw's amazing skill set and why he's so valuable (in a stealth sort of way LOL). Yet, his lack of performance all season has contributed more to our losses than his great prowess has provided wins. What I find most surprising is how people continue to be perplexed at this paradox. With Diaw, it truly "IS WHAT IT IS". This guy really plays the game as a job, not with a passion or mission/desire to be the best.

Posted by: Bassman | Mar 8, 2011 8:47:17 AM

Hi Rick,

My wife works for one of the Bobcats Staff (in his private firm), and her boss and I were talking before yesterday's game. He mentioned that Gerald was indeed very upset with the trade and that he and his family don't like Portland (as a city) at all. However, he also mentioned that Gerald said he will be more than open to resign with the Bobcats after his contract is open and that he and his family loves Charlotte.

Have you asked Gerald such a question. In two years he could be GREAT coming off the bench, ala Bruce Bowen in San Antonio or Lamar Odom for LA, but still more athletic. Just a thought.

Posted by: RobC | Mar 8, 2011 9:31:41 AM

Sorry, I meant: "...after his contract is over..."

Posted by: RobC | Mar 8, 2011 9:33:39 AM

Of course Gerald was upset with this trade. He went from being a starter to coming off the bench. He was on the bench in Sacramento that's why he wanted to be in the expansion lottery. He hasn't been in Portland long enough to form an opinion. He's running off emotion right now. As much as he "loved" Charlotte that didn't stop him from hot footing it out here at the end of each season to Alabama. Jersey retirement should be held when he is done with his career. However, if the Bobcats are so inclined, go for it.

Posted by: digal704 | Mar 8, 2011 9:54:21 AM

bobcats need to tell diaw to stop playing international ball every off season. he needs to commit to his nba game.

Posted by: joe cool | Mar 8, 2011 10:17:45 AM

Wow, Cunningham must not be worth a hoot if he can't even get playing time for this Bobcats team. Seems strange that he averaged 18-19 minutes for a pretty good Portland team and now can't even get on the floor ahead of McGuire, Najera or Diaw. Maybe Silas just forgets he's there.

Posted by: Larry Harris | Mar 8, 2011 10:22:11 AM

According to league sources, New jersey Nets Deron Williams is interested in coming to Charlotte in the off-season. Check UL7.com then click sports and its front page

Posted by: mike | Mar 8, 2011 11:41:30 AM

We all know that Boris is like that family member that always frustrates us but we have high hopes for him. He needs to move to another state so we don't have to deal with his nonsense on a regular basis. I'm tired of reading or writing about him. I want someone to take him off our hands.

Posted by: easye | Mar 8, 2011 12:57:07 PM

Charlotte traded away their Mojo when they let Wallace go. I wish they could've dumped Diaw!

Posted by: JerryF | Mar 8, 2011 1:03:21 PM


I admire and respect what G-Force has done for Charlotte but I hope they do not do a tribute to him. He was traded not retired. I think this should be a private moment between all of the fans and GW. I'm sure he would appreciate that more than some contrived video or presentation by the Bobcats in order to do damage control with the fans.

Posted by: Bob | Mar 8, 2011 1:38:19 PM

After thought to my prior post, maybe the PA anouncer could give a Wallace echo when he hits his first three pointer.

Posted by: Bob | Mar 8, 2011 1:41:17 PM

If you're cheap, you always wears cheap stuffs. Either Jordan decides to spend money for this team to win and gather sponsors or continue to trade poorly like the big guy from Portland who looks hungry and retired all the time on the court. I in no way mean that Wallace is an NBA star, but this guy works himself so hard for this franchise every night that he was let go because you want a salary dump. You give out a $10,500,000 contract with a better player and the second highest scorer on your team, and brought in a guy who is making $7000,000 and change, but contributes nothing to this team efforts. This was a classic dump business decision by Jordan and his front office friends. I'll quickly accept Alonzo Morning back from retiring than accept this player brought in Wallace trade. The guy is just big body, but contributes nothing on the court. His contract need to be bought out for Flip Murray or some big man from the street.

Posted by: bobcats | Mar 8, 2011 1:50:21 PM

Bobcats -

You completly missed the point of this trade. The only reason why Joe Przybilla and Sean Marks (waived) were in this deal, is because the NBA requires for salaries to match when teams are over the Salary Cap. But the truth of the matter is that none of the players received will be here after the season, except for DJ White.

That's why this trade was nothing more than a salary dump and get some extra picks to either draft a young prospect, or to include in a package for a solid starter later on. This trade was never intended to get talent, back in return, it was about the picks and the Salary Cap flexibility.

Because of this trade and the additional Salary Cap space to be created after next season for the 2012 Summer, the Bobcats could be in great shape to build a contender. The real question is: how will the new CBA look like, how will the next draft will work out and whether or not an elite player would come to play in Charlotte.

Posted by: RobC | Mar 8, 2011 2:09:06 PM

Agreed I believe DJ White will be here next year the guy is a real talent. Pryz will coming off the books in the summer. I think you don't know too much about Cunningham he could be a scorer if given some playing time. I would like to keep him around especially cause he is cost effective. Like I said GW is the man, but not a superstar. Jordan is a winner regardless of what people think, his passion to win is still relevant today. I really don't think DJ will be the future. Hendo, Tyrus, White, after Jax era. He was consistent with offense but is not reliable and the defense is terrible. But I think that the CATs will play better with their better offensive and defensive threats coming back. Nazr was and still is the best center that was on this team. No disrepectful to the current guy Kwame but he is more offensively gifted. Doris Meow like I said plays 2 out 10 games but seems too soft for me. Acts like a piece of gingerbread cake.

Posted by: tbird | Mar 8, 2011 2:42:36 PM

Key priorities this summer should be:

1.) Trade Stephen Jackson.

2.) Trade Boris Diaw (expiring contract), with Tyrus Thomas, plus DJ White and Najera from the bench, Boris is no longer needed. However, the salary cap provided by his departure will be a gift from heaven.

3.) Try to see if someone is willing to take Matt Carroll for a 2nd Rd Pick. This is a weak draft, and some team might be willing to do that on draft night. After all his contract is less every year and there are team willing to get a shooter just in case they might need someone to fill in. Boston signed Von Wafer, and Matt Carroll is better than him (althought that should not be perceived as a compliment).

4.) Trade Gana Diop; OK, now this would be a miracle and I know is too much to ask, but this needs to be a constant priority in case the opportunity ever arises. Maybe Mark Cuban gets too drunk one day and pulls the triger on another overpaid bigman

Posted by: RobC | Mar 8, 2011 3:31:20 PM

I hope his jersey never reachess the rafters. He is an average player and shouldn't get that kind of treatment!

Posted by: crymeariver | Mar 8, 2011 6:26:45 PM

All of us cats fans know this team needed restructuring to be consistently good in the near future. After these first six years of trying to build a winner they were not successful, there is not much margin for error in rebuilding. The next six years need to be twice as good as what they came up with in the past. No one wants to be the Clippers of the east.

Posted by: easye | Mar 8, 2011 9:30:07 PM

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