May 7, 2010, 11:23 AM EDT
When all is said and done, Tim Duncan will rightfully go down in history as one of the best — if not the very best — defender the game has ever seen. That’s why Duncan’s suddenly diminished defensive effectiveness in this series has been so startling.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times where Tim seems to have every bit of the defensive prowess that has defined his career; he’s still averaging 2.5 blocks per game in this series, and that’s not even taking into account the number of shots he’s altered with his very presence. It’s no coincidence that when Duncan leaves the game, the Suns look to attack the basket with only the 6’7”, ACL-less DeJuan Blair protecting the rim, which speaks to Duncan’s persisting influence.
ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz and David Thorpe batted around an important question: Has Tim Duncan become a defensive liability? He sure looked the part when the Suns deliberately attacked Duncan in their half-court sets in the fourth quarter of Game 2, but Arnovitz and Thorpe offer a much more detailed analysis with the benefit of some terrific video evidence.