Boris Diaw: "I wasn't expecting the Shaq trade"
How do you feel about the team’s form? You guys went through several losses in a row a few weeks ago, but now seem to be doing fine.
Boris Diaw: Yeah, we are getting better. When we got that trade going with Shaq, it was a little adjustment. That is why it took some time for us to start playing our best and that is why we had a couple losses in a row. But now, it is all better and we are playing better.
Were you surprised at all with Shaq trade last month? Could you see it coming?
BD: No, I didn’t see it coming at all. I had no idea. I just heard on TV about it. So no, I didn’t know and I wasn’t expecting it.
What is Shaq’s impact on the game and on the Suns?
BD: He makes an impact in a lot of different areas. Especially defensively. He is a big presence, gets a lot of rebounds that, with outlet passes, can create fast breaks. So he actually helps us play a lot of fast breaks. And offensively, when we put the ball inside to him, he draws a lot of attention from the opposing defense.
A lot of people questioned if he can play with the Suns due to their fast style. You play with him, you see him in practice... Can he play and run with your team?
BD: Yes, of course. That is all we have been doing since he came. Fast break is never five-on-five anyway – it is three against two or two against one. That is what a fast break is, and with him getting a lot of rebounds and outlet passes we get a lot of fast-break points.
How does Shaq’s presence impact team’s chemistry? How do you get along?
BD: You know, we have a great chemistry. We had great chemistry before too and that hasn’t changed. He is a great guy and he is very funny in the locker room, so it has been good.
Do the Suns miss Shawn Marion? On the court, and off the court…
BD: Yes, of course. On the court he was bringing a lot of things to the game and to the Suns. So we were losing a lot by losing him, and at the same time we were gaining something with Shaq. That is the thing about the trades, you win some and you lose some. And for off the court, Shawn was also a great guy, funny in the locker room, so we miss him too.
In Europe, the norm is to play two games a week maximum. You seem to have really good games in the NBA on back-to-back nights? How does it feel to play two games in two nights?
BD: It is OK. What is tough is when sometimes you have five games in seven days; when you have two games in two days, then one day of rest, and then again back-to back games. But it is all about the rhythm that we get into during the season. It is tough in the first year when you come from Europe to play back-to-back games, but you get into the rhythm and by the end of the first season you get used to it. Besides, we practice less and make sure that we stay ready for the games.
But with the back-to-backs on the road, you usually arrive to your second destination in the wee hours of the morning and still manage to play hard that same night?
BD: Yeah. We come in late, but we don’t practice that morning. We have a late breakfast and proceed with a film session. So we're fine.
How do you see the Suns suited for the playoffs and what are the chances of winning it all this year?
BD: We have a good chance. You know, like nine other teams in the West and four teams in the East. It is crazy right now. It is so tight. In the West, anybody can win against anybody. We will see. We have to prepare as good as we can right now and be ready for the playoffs.
Are you a little bummed that in the year when the Suns get Shaq and the team is playing good, it also happens that everyone else in the West is playing great basketball as well?
BD: That is a good thing. It is going to be a great finish and we are going to have great playoffs.
Senad Mustafic is a Phoenix correspondent of Sportska Centrala, sports news agency from Serbia