Tim Duncan may not bang down low like he used to, but the veteran big can still get it done when called upon. As much fun as the current Spurs offense is to watch I sometimes find myself missing the old days. The days when Duncan touched the ball on the block on just about every possession and quietly dominated his opposition while facing double and triple teams. The evolution of his game has been a treat to follow, and not having to battle giants night in and night out has probably extended his career.
As recently as 2009-10 Timmy had 524 post attempts. I know that was actually kind of a long time ago, but when the player we're talking about is about to start his 18th season, well, that's still in the last third of his career. This past year he only had 353. Tim is now set up by his teammates much more often than he creates for himself, but he's certainly still a threat in the post.
One of my favorite parts of last season was when the Variety of Maladies hit the Spurs and Duncan put the team on his back and kept them afloat in the standings. During the stretch of games that started with Tiago Splitter's shoulder injury and extending a full month, Tim put up the following line per game - 18.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 blocks in just 30.8 minutes per game. If that wasn't enough he also shot an outstanding 55.7% from the field. At almost 38-years old, for a solid month, Tim produced just above his career averages in rebounds (11.1,) blocks (2.2,) he shot better (50.6%,) and only had small dips in points (19.9,) and assists (3.1.) He managed to accomplish that while playing four full minutes less than his career average. To quote Jeff Van Gundy, mind-boggling.
I really enjoy watching players work in the post, and Duncan is one of the best ever. So enjoy his fundamental footwork, his seemingly endless supply of counters, and the mental game that occurs one-on-one down low.
Like Belinelli's cuts, I coincidentally ended up with 30 Duncan post possessions and there won't be a ranking of them, so just sit back and enjoy Big Fun doing his thing.
Here Duncan is facing Dwight Howard. Tim uses a jab step, fake, then dribbles to the elbow, spins and makes his way to the left block. Howard plays him exceptionally tight, using his athletic advantage to stick to the veteran but Dwight reaches for the ball and that gave Tim just enough to put up and knock down a little fade-away banker.
Tim goes to work against Marc Gasol and Courtney Lee brings quick help to swipe at the ball. Duncan, who has passed out of countless doubles, kicks it out to Manu Ginobili as Lee scrambles to get back out to Gino. Manu reposts Timmy and the big man connects on the turnaround jumper for an and-one.
Timofey Mozgov plays Duncan pretty well here, even causing Timmy to lose control of the ball for a second, but Tim goes to his trusty counterclockwise spin bank-shot.
A similar possession against Kenneth Faried.
Duncan creates enough space between him and Marreese Speights with a jab-step to knock down another classic 15-foot bank shot.
Tim gets the best of LaMarcus Aldridge here with another pretty spin into the one-handed banker.
The Spurs clear out to let Duncan work Enes Kanter one-on-one. Duncan puts Kantor off balance and then bulls his way to the paint for two points. Speaking of Kantor, just in case you missed it a couple of years ago, here's a video of Kanter showing off his moves in the Utah Jazz Rookie Dance off.
Check out Duncan's footwork in this one. He receives the ball from Marco Belinelli, turns to face up, fakes to his spin-into-counterclockwise-banker, and then spins back and gets his shot to go from the middle of the paint.
I think that Timmy likes to play against Robin Lopez. Here he just takes it right at Lopez and scores with a running lefty hook.
Tim suffered a chest contusion on opening night against the Grizzlies, took a game off, and then came back against Portland and put up his season high in attempts. Six of those attempts came in the post against Lopez and Tim scored on four of them with a variety of moves. My favorite is probably the up-and-under he squeezed between Lopez and Aldridge.
I'm a little surprised that Tim didn't just back the smaller Channing Frye all the way down to the hoop in this play. Instead, at the edge of the paint Timmy spin and looks to have good position until one of he Morris twins brings help. Duncan shows his patience, fakes both Suns defenders into the air and then finishes with a little layup at the rim while drawing a foul in the process.
There's not much to this one. It's just Timmy faking a fake and beating Miles Plumlee off the dribble. Tim's so good at that running across the lane righty hook that all Miles can do is swipe down at the ball as Duncan puts it off the glass for a couple of points.
Timmy starts to drive across the lane against Paul Millsap, sees a dead end if he continues, spins clockwise, fakes Millsap about two inches into the air, steps through and deposits the ball through the net. Great stuff from the GOATPUFF.
Nikola Vucevic had a nice third season averaging 14 and 11 for Jacque Vaughn's Magic. Duncan completely loses him here with beautiful footwork and a perfect spin to create an uncontested layup.
If you're like me, you don't like Kendrick Perkins. It's not just his complete lack of an offensive game or the way he pushes people or bowls over them while the refs do little to stop it. It's his whole fake tough guy attitude. It's his persistent scowl. The man is wildly overpaid to play a game, why is he so angry all the time? That said, I'm glad the rival Thunder are going to continue to employ Perk and Scottie Brooks.
It's nice to see Timmy take it at Perk and score with a turnaround righty-hook.
Stay tuned for the next installment and here are links to the previous entries if you missed them the first time around.
Boris Diaw's best playoff passes.
Tony Parker's best scoring plays vs. Dallas and Portland.
Tim Duncan's best playoff scores. Here is Part 2.
Tiago Splitter's best assists. Here is Part 2.
Jeff Ayres' best scores of the season.
Marco Belinelli's best cuts of the season. Part 2 is here.