Basketball / Sports

Playing point guard a hidden passion for Spurs' Tim Duncan

SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan is arguably the greatest power forward in NBA history, yet he may be considering a position switch.

On Saturday, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Duncan has often demanded to play point guard.

"True story," Popovich said. "He thinks he's a point guard."

Duncan admitted to entertaining the thought of moving to the backcourt. During his media session, he even asked a reporter to help convince Popovich.

"I've been arguing that point for years now and I'm going to get your name and card, and I'll get you in a room with him," Duncan said.

Popovich and Duncan have repeatedly had the conversation about the change over the years. It never got any further than considering it a joke. Besides, Duncan's point-guard plight may have ended after committing five turnovers against the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

"I think I took a step back from that," Duncan said, laughing. "I don't think that I'm going to be able to step up and fill that role for a little while. But, no, 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."

The fact Popovich shared Duncan's hidden passion surprised Spurs guard Tony Parker. The team preferred to keep it in-house. Parker laughed when asked if he feared losing his job.

"Are we still talking about that?" Parker said. "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. ... 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 10 games he can bring it up."

Duncan has long been considered one of the league's best-passing big men. He's averaged 3.1 assists during his 17-year career.

"It's not just about making the pass, it's about moving the ball and getting it to the person that might get it to the person," Duncan said. "If we had hockey assists, I think our team would lead the league in hockey assists because we keep moving the ball and keep moving bodies. But it's just about making the right decision at the right time, and it's not always about making the right decision that gets the shot, but the right decision that makes the play happen."

GREEN COMMENTS: Spurs guard Danny Green said he was "shocked" to hear former North Carolina player Rashad McCants make claims of academic fraud at the university.

McCants, who played on the 2005 UNC national-title team, told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that coach Roy Williams knew of players skipping classes. He also said tutors wrote papers for players.

Green, a former Tar Heel, denied the claim.

"The more attention you give it, the more relevance it's going to have," Green said. "It shouldn't. I got my degree. I earned my degree. I'm proud of it. I know everybody was there with me in my classes. We worked. I did everything the right way. Coach Williams did everything the right way."

BIGGER ROLE: Last year it was all about waving a towel for Spurs backup point guard Patty Mills.

Now, he actually impacts the game on the court.

A year after being nothing more than a motivational cheerleader during the Finals, Mills has become a key contributor for the Spurs. He scored seven points in 12 minutes in Game 1. He only played 14 minutes in last year's series.

"It was more a mind-set and mentally understanding about what I needed to do to make a contribution to the team," Mills said. "I was in a rut mentally (last year). It was just the determination of having a chip on my shoulder to earn the right to make a contribution. I wanted to be a part of this team so bad."

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus