The San Antonio Spurs are a much more up-tempo team this season. A stark contrast to the past teams which sought to grind it out, use a majority of the shot-clock and give Tim Duncan a steady diet of touches in the post.
Now with an emphasis on scoring quickly, Duncan has seen a reduced role with the Spurs but you won’t hear any argument from him:
On one transition play in Wednesday night’s loss to the Clippers, Parker pushed the ball upcourt. Duncan came down behind the ball, yelling “trail, trail, trail” to indicate he was the man trailing the play, often the most difficult to pick up in transition. Then the ball was passed to every Spur except Duncan, resulting in a 3-point shot by George Hill. The team has slowly shifted toward Ginobili in recent years, but never has the transition been as noticeable as this season. Ginobili leads the team in scoring with 21.5 points per game, and Duncan is fourth at 10.5 points as he attempts only 11.6 field goals per game.
“It’s different,” Duncan said. “It takes some getting used to. I’m a rhythm guy, and to go that long without touching the ball is an adjustment. But it is what it is. Manu is playing unbelievably and Tony’s had a great year so far, Richard [Jefferson has] shown up and really played well. We’ve found ways to win games by moving the ball and moving the defense and making them pay that way. As long as it’s winning games for us, I’m happy with it.” (source ESPN.com)
This mind-set from Duncan should sound very familiar to Spurs fans. Spurs’ legend David Robinson took the same approach when he took a step back to allow Duncan and other players to flourish which led to two NBA titles for the Spurs during Robinson’s playing days.
However, Duncan can still makes his presence felt during games. I’m sure the Golden State Warriors and their fans know he can still be dominant when he has to. Can you say triple-double?