|26 March 2012|
EUROPEANS IN THE NBA
|Boris Diaw is now teammates with friend and fellow France international Tony Parker. |
Boris Diaw has left a nightmare in Charlotte with the NBA's Bobcats for a dream situation in San Antonio with the Spurs.
The France international, cut loose by the Bobcats after falling out of favor with coach Paul Silas, was quickly snapped up by the Spurs and that means he is a teammate of fellow France international, Tony Parker.
Gregg Popovich rates the 29-year-old so highly that he has given last year's EuroBasket silver-medal winner plenty of minutes, and that's even with Diaw having yet to train with his new teammates.
"I'm learning to play with them and I didn't get a chance to practice," Diaw said.
"And I played right away with three games in a row.
"But that's the NBA. We know that and I'm just glad we took care of these three games."
Aside from having a chance to win his first NBA title, Diaw now has an opportunity to play alongside someone that already has in Parker.
The two were friends as teenagers in France and dreamed that one day, they'd make it to the NBA.
There were even moments, Diaw admits, that the two envisioned themselves as teammates.
"Yeah, we talked about it when we were 16 years old, but we didn't think it would happen," Diaw said.
"But we weren't sure."
While Diaw became a very rich man by playing with Phoenix and Charlotte and established himself a solid front-court player who could pass, rebound and score, what he craved most was winning.
Parker has always been a winner in the NBA and capturing a championship is definitely at the front of Diaw's thoughts.
"Some years they won and other they didn't, but they always had good years," Diaw said.
"I was looking for that. I had some great years in my career.
"(But) Not always great like he was."
Diaw has played 16, 11 and 27 minutes in his first three games with the Spurs - all wins.
Parker continues to be the main man in San Antonio.
He had 21 points and seven assists in Sunday's 93-76 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Another Frenchman, meanwhile, knows he is definitely going to be playing post-season basketball.
Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls became the first team in the league to lock up a play-off place with 40 wins.
Noah, who will be at the Olympics in London this summer with Parker and Diaw, is averaging 9.9 points and 10 rebounds per game.