SAN ANTONIO – For 17 seasons, you’d think Tim Duncan has been able to achieve pretty much everything he wanted in the NBA.
Four championships, two MVP awards, 14 trips to the All-Star Game.
But it seems there is still one area where Spurs coach Gregg Popovich won’t let him spread his big man’s wings and fly.
“All Timmy has ever demanded is he wants to play the point and he thinks I’ve held him back,” Popovich said Saturday. “True story. He thinks he’s a point guard.
“There is nothing else to it. That’s the story. You see him bring it up once in a while. He brings it up with three more dribbles than he needs to. He should throw it ahead to anybody in the same color uniform. But he’ll get three more dribbles in, just to practice in case I do it, which I’m really going to do.”
Magic Duncan and the Showtime Spurs.
It’s been regular comedy routine in the Spurs locker room and on the practice court, as familiar and funny to Duncan’s teammates as Abbott & Costello doing Who’s On First.
Are we still talking about that?” Tony Parker asked to a roomful of laughter. “I can’t believe they brought it up in the NBA Finals. It’s been a joke that Timmy thinks he’s a great quarterback, that he can be a good passer. I disagree with that. I want to keep my spot.
“Obviously Timmy is a great passer, so every time Timmy takes the ball and he brings it up, I have to leave him alone. At least once every ten games he can bring it up.”
A sheepish Duncan admits he did not help his cause with his ball-handling performance in Game 1.
“After my five turnovers the other night, I think I took a step back from that. I don’t think that I’m going to be able to step up and fill that role for a little while.
“But I enjoy getting in the middle of the floor and making decisions and getting the ball to the right place, and that’s what a point guard’s got to do.”
Magic Duncan. Maybe in the next 17 years.