Will Tim Duncan Take Advantage Of His Rule For All-Star Start?

 So which player could be the first to take advantage of the so-called “Tim Duncan Rule,” the tweak to the All-Star ballot that will ask fans to vote for three “frontcourt” players instead of the traditional two forwards and a center?

Um, how about Tim Duncan? The league will debut the new ballots on Tuesday. The 2013 All-Star Game is on Feb. 17 at Houston’s Toyota Center.

For years, the San Antonio Spurs’ mellow superstar has masqueraded as a power forward really by name only. When Yao Ming entered the league in 2002-03, he generated such an enormous number votes from his home country that there was no way Duncan, who broke in with the Spurs alongside 10-time All-Star center David Robinson, would have ever started an All-Star game if classified as a center.  As a power forward, Duncan started 12 consecutive All-Star games from 2000 to 2011.

Highest def. reb. percentage, 2012-13
Anderson Varejao 5 47 32.0%
Tim Duncan 7 60 31.4%
Spencer Hawes 6 36 29.8%
Al Jefferson 7 55 29.7%
Kevin Garnett 6 46 29.3%

Through Saturday, 11/10
Minimum 100 minutes played
DREB% = Percentage of available defensive
rebounds obtained while on the floor

(Frankly, with so few true centers being viable All-Star candidates these days, the ballot change was overdue.)

That streak, as well as 12 consecutive All-Star appearances ended last season as youngsters Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin dominated fan voting to earn starting spots, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge simply couldn’t be left off as reserves, and reigning NBA champ Dirk Nowitzki appropriately got the nod despite a slow start.

Most observers figured Duncan’s All-Star days were behind him with his stats trending down as coach Gregg Popovich continued to reduce his court time while shaping the offense around guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and the club’s perimeter shooters.

Of course, the move of Dwight Howard to the Western Conference could well make the discussion of Duncan as a starter moot anyway, assuming fan backlash toward the maddening, flip-flopping center doesn’t hurt him on the ballot.

Nevertheless, Duncan is certainly making it interesting.

At 36, he is playing like he’s 26. With the Spurs off to a West-best 6-1 start, Duncan is far and away the team’s scoring leader (18.9 ppg) and he’s dominating the boards, averaging 9.7, more than three more rebounds a game than anyone else on the team.

Consider this nugget shared by NBA.com stat guru John Schuhmann: Duncan’s defensive rebounding percentage of 31.4 is the highest of his career (defensive rebounding percentage is the percent of available defensive rebounds he got when he was on the floor, so with the Spurs on defense there have been 191 available rebounds with Duncan on the floor, and he’s grabbed 60 of them). He ranks second in the league in the category behind Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao.

If Duncan keeps this up, he will be a top candidate to make a 14th All-Star roster. But how realistic is it for a 13th career start? Again, the Howard dynamic is in play, but the new format at least creates the discussion. You have to believe that Durant and Blake will again dominate fan voting and take the top two spots.

But here’s the catch for the third: Other candidates have either started the season slowly or injured. Love and Nowitzki have yet to even suit up and could still be out a few more weeks. LaMarcus Aldridge, an All-Star newbie last season, is off to a poor-shooting start (a career-worst 43.6 percent although he’s averaging 21.8 points and 7.3 rebounds) on a Portland team in transition. Pau Gasol is off to an inauspicious start in the Lakers’ soap opera.

Memphis’ big-man duo of Marc Gasol, an All-Star last season, and Zach Randolph, off to a monster start, will make hard cases.

Bottom line is if Duncan continues at this rate, how does he not make the team? It will be an interesting couple of months.


  1. James T says:

    EAST: F-LeBron James, F-Carmelo Anthony, G-Rajon Rondo, G-Dwyane Wade, C-Roy Hibbert.. Deron Williams, Anderson Varejao, Kevin Garnett, Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng.
    WEST: F-Kevin Durant, G-Kobe Bryant, C-Dwight Howard, G-Russell Westbrook, F-Blake Griffin.. Chris Paul, OJ Mayo, Tim Duncan, James Harden and Zach Randolph.

  2. Tammy says:

    Tim Duncan Is epic, The Spurs are one of my favorite teams so happy they got 97!!!!!!!!!

  3. Jon says:

    I think there are plenty of viable centers, at least two a conference.
    Raptors dude looks like he might be a future star
    Arguably Garnett and Bosh are new age centers

    West is even more loaded
    Marc for sure, Pau could qualify
    Timberwolves dude and Cousins are on the up.

    I think other than point guard centers are currently the nba’s deepest position and are most deserving of all star recognition since they dont score the points t

  4. me says:

    For sure, at this point of his career, Timmy doesnt whether he make to the all star or not, but im sure, even as early as november, he is thinking of june where true stars shine. who cares about february when you have 4 rings!

  5. Kamote says:

    This is about the All-Star weekend, this is about the fans. If Griffin wins over Duncan in voting, then that’s how the majority of NBA fans would want it. I think most NBA vets (TD, Kobe, KG etc.) would rather have that time to rest their bodies :).

    Its still the playoffs that’s most important to elite teams and great players. Though its good that they give a defense-free, entertaining game full of highlights to fans, its still winning the championship that matters.

  6. Steven2012 says:

    D12 KD Zach Gasol Aldridge all of the others can KEEP the starting position on the all star team, Tim will keep the 4 rings, 2 mvp, and 12 previous all star starts… 🙂
    Besides its just a little popularity contest with most of the voters being 12 yr old kids online… Lol im sure Tim will be just fine either way though he deserves to make the team at the least.

  7. Crystakke says:

    When some pushes you in the back your natural instinct is to move your feet to counteract the change in balance. Duncan couldn’t do that because he’s feet were right next to Isaiah Thomas’s feet. He simply tripped on him and that’s why he fell. As you see in the replays, Thomas also fell on that play. If Tim doesn’t trip, most likely is not a foul on Cousins. Maybe that’s why you’re outraged. But Cousins also got away with two blatant offensive fouls on TD late in the game which resulted in 4 Kings points. Anyway, the comment you made didn’t have any place being on this article.
    Chris Paul, one of the games biggest floppers, flopped against Ginobili the game before and nearly started a brawl. Don’t see anyone raising any eyebrows over that one.

  8. MIke says:

    It’s November. Who cares.

  9. TG says:

    @KareemoftheCrop- Dude, DeMarcus Cousins still looks like he hasn’t matured yet which is why he still has an attitude problem. And I personally think that was not a flop.

    anyways, I can understand why Duncan won’t be an All-star starter, but as for making the All-star in the reserve, at this point you would have to have him in there. as said, Dirk and KLove have yet to even play (and who knows when to expect them to return on the court), and there hasn’t been that much noise from Aldridge and Pau Gasol.

    and though this just all on the West, you can consider the same with Kevin Garnett on the East, as David said.

  10. James says:

    guys, the reason they are calling it the Tim Duncan Rule is because back in his prime there were many centers and forwards very talented in his conference and yet the only way he would have started was him labeling himself as a forward… even though people considered him a center, he wanted to be a forward because of his versatility he was able to be considered a forward! Think about it, if he would have been labeled a center he would have never started over Yao Ming because of the votes!! Remember, great players get there own rules!!

  11. Ted says:

    It’s way beyond TImmy’s time. He might be an all-star but definitely not a starter.

    • DJ says:

      Why? At his age, he’s outplayed many of the young popular kids. Again, it’s clearly a popularity contest. Twice the flash,half the skill!

  12. Andy#6 says:

    Come on. Duncan is one of the best big men of all time. How can they not spare him an allstar start.

  13. KareemoftheCrop says:

    Did Tim Duncan get a warning for the flop he did against the Kings? DeMarcus pushed him in the back yes, but it was a horrible flop. How does a one hand in the back cause a man to crash to the ground the instant the hand touches the back? Nah, he wont get a warning because he is an NBA darling and Cousins has a “bad attitude”

    • MIke says:

      There’s a difference between flopping and selling a foul. Cousins should’ve known who he was up against and played smarter.

    • D says:

      Are you kidding me? cousins is one of the dirtiest players in the league and Tim one of the most honest. cousins even announced he was going after Duncan in that game.

    • DJ says:

      Watch the replay, cousins on more than one occasion lowered his shoulder on Duncan. Even the commentaters agreed cousins fouled Duncan on more than one occasion. Cousins should learn how to play and not be a bull in china shop. Again, that’s what separates the great players from the fill ins.

  14. David says:

    How do you use a stat like DREB% and a fact like Howard moving West and then focus an article of this kind on Duncan instead of Garnett? Clearly, his numbers are on the same level as Duncan’s and he has more chances of returning to the All-Star game on the East than Duncan on the West. Bynum is still out, Tyson Chandler’s numbers are down from last year and the big men in Brooklyn continue to lack star-quality. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing both back to the All-Star game, though, arguably the 2 best power forwards ever.

    • Me says:

      Exactly, KG ahould definitely be considered before Duncan. But of course, as usual, they will snub the Celtics.

      • BIGMatta23 says:

        As usual they will snub the Celtics??? There has been 3 Celtics (1/4 of the team) every all-star year (5 seasons) since 2008.
        In 2011 there was 4 Celtics (1/3 of the team) What an absolutely ridiculous comment!

      • ZAC says:

        KG in no way deserves to be there before TD. KG is a good player, but his attitude stinks. At his peak he might have given TD a run for his money at the best PF of all time, but KG wouldn’t even be in the top three now with Duncan leading that category by a country mile. As for the C’s getting snubbed………what are you smoking??? They had three players last year and will get them again this year……..pay attention dude and stop running your mouth off!!

      • artifex says:

        I think his comment was concerning the starting line-up voted by fans.
        Yes, 4 Celts in 2011 but none as a starter! Celtics are polarizing fan community, which is good for the tension in a play-off series but not good to get votes on the all start ballot.

  15. bucksball says:

    tim’s legacy is more than enough to be thinking he deserves a spot on the team. However, like said, there’s just to much younger talent in the western conference.

    • DJ says:

      Younger, but not better. It’s sad that so many people are attracted to arrogance. Why do people really think Blake Griffin or Dwight are so great? It can’t be from a talent standpoint. Face it,, both of them boys should do the slam dunk contest and leave the all-star game to the great players!

  16. Hibachi says:

    Why does he have to be a start? Fans decide the starts, not the stats. Even a player barely plays any game, he can still be a start as long as fans love him (Yao 2011, Iverson 2010, Mourning 2001, HIll 2001, Hardaway 1998). Duncan is long gone from being fans’ fav and that’s the only reason he can’t start.

    If you write an article, make your point clear. Are you talking about his chance of making the all-star, or making the all-star starting lineup? If you are talking about the starting lineup, then none of Aldridge, Randolph, Gasol is relevant to this topic either.

    It scares me sometimes to see how easy someone can get a writer’s job without having the capability to make a simple point.

  17. clone says:

    Calling that “Tim Duncan Rule” is not fun dudes 😀
    The only true Allstar caliber center moved to the West, things wont change for him, he will be behind d12/durant/griffin in the votes.
    This rule will reflect on the East C/PF, Mr Kevin Garnett or Chris Bosh will probably benefit from it, joining lebron and melo in the frontcourt)

  18. Objectivity says:

    Probably makes the team, but as a reserve, I don’t think he’s popular enough to compete with DH12, Blake, etc, even if he’s by far the best of that group.

  19. grizzlies says:

    marc gasol and zach randolph deserve both an invitation to the all star game if they keep this up!!

    pau gasol wont make it simply b/c kobe is a lock and so is howard!! the fans will select those two…and with L.A’s mediocre record, it leaves no room for anyone else to be selected (sorry nash, sorry pau)!!

    Aldridge is out as well!!! Portland is in transition…and with more than player (Lillard, Mathews, Batum) averaging over 16points a game, it really doesnt help Aldridge’s case!!

    Id take Timmy, Z-Bo and Marc Gasol!!!

    • spurs4life says:

      i agree…id take those 3 you mentioned and skip Aldridge(average team), K-Love and Dirk (neither has played enough to deserve any consideration)!!!


      • E-SY says:

        Take Blake AND DeAndre and add to that an explosive Small Forward like Iguodala or Gay and we’ll have some fun during the all-star game for once! You guys build your case around the stats of players; I’d like good players who have some flair to make this game worth watching! I don’t want to see those old guys that can’t jump over a newspaper to do their ‘amazing’ footwork in the paint… I’ll go see some ice-dancing if I’d like to see that.
        Next thing you know the starting lineup contains Nash, Lin, the Gasol brothers and Tim Duncan and we get to see turtle-speed offenses with all kind of fundamental bla bla… how exiting!

        I’m in for an ankle-breaking guard (Paul), high speed transition (Lawson) and high flying frontcourt!

        But… it’s a popularity contest as far as it concerns the starting lineup… so I can only hope people want to see the same thing as I do and all this speculation is wordt nothing much.

  20. Big Euro says:

    It’s a pity that so many players continually make the All-Star team based on reputation (Duncan, AI, Nowitzki last season). And when they actually pick up their play again like Nash, Ray Ray or Timmy D voters decide to overlook them because they feel they have had their time.

    The whole process is bogus anyway. Too much democracy involved. All NBA 1st 2nd 3rd are what count.

    • jay says:

      All NBA teams are voted on as well so there’s plenty democracy there. Every year the nba asks fans to vote for who they wish to see in the all star game, hard to get that question wrong. And these players who typically always make it, are the ones who make the game exciting and are playing if there is a crunch time. Too much whining from fans.

    • k2niagara says:

      Tim Duncan did not make the team last year.

  21. steppx says:

    Its hard to not have Randolph make it this year. Tim and Zbo are playing the best of anyone. Dirk hasnt played, and Love either. Pau isnt doing nearly enough. So that leaves blake and aldridge. The Howard question is intereresting. I wouldnt vote for him……….

    • jay says:

      And your basing all this off about 6 games??? lol

      • DJ says:

        Too bad you’ve apparently only seen these players play 6 games in their career. Duncan had a stellar season last year, but was overlooked for the more popular candidates. Face it, some of the younger big names will never accomplish what Tim Duncan already has, especially at his current age. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have certainly proven themselves as well.

    • PJax says:

      A few commentators seemed to misunderstand this change. All this rule does is make the most deserving get the spot. At this time it benefits players labeled “forwards”, since the NBA is lacking Center talent.
      If in future, a Shaq, an Olajuwan, and a Wilt, all play in one conference, they all can make it as starters, even if they are all centers, thus disadvantaging forwards.
      It is a great change indeed. We want to see the best players in the all-star game, not ones we’re forced to choose from lack of flexibility in the voting system.

      May the best man win.