Mar. 27, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) and Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat at the US Airways Center. The Spurs defeated the Suns 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
(Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a series of posts that detail the San Antonio Spurs in a much more defined, analytical light. Statistics courtesy of the excellent MySynergySports.)
Tim Duncan has undergone a bit of a transition in recent years as the Spurs’ offense has been tailored for Tony Parker’s ethereal quickness and Manu Ginobili’s consistent jaunts to the rim. He still receives a bunch of touches, though, as his usage rate is only slightly below his career average.
But, at this stage of his career, Duncan isn’t expected to be the impetus behind the entire offense, the indomitable post presence expected to find open cutters, shooters and exploiting every interior defender.
That would be unfair to Duncan and the Spurs have the luxury of operating through their younger backcourt. The majority of Duncan’s possessions still occur in the post — where he scored 0.83 points per possession and shot 39.9% — and in the pick-and-roll. His distribution of possessions haven’t deviated much from the norm in recent years but he has slowly taken more shots from 16-23 feet and less at the rim. That isn’t a positive trend, of course, but it isn’t an unexpected course for a 36-year-old power forward with approximately 46,000 minutes on his odometer either. It’s simply natural.
Because of his basketball IQ, Duncan will still succeed even despite his declining post game, which is a merely average asset rather than the elite option it used to be. His intelligence still allows him to find angles in which to carve up space and as his athleticism wanes further, cuts will likely become a more prevalent weapon in his arsenal.
For more on Duncan’s possession distribution, check out the chart below.