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Off day wrap up from San Antonio: Tim Duncan wants to be a point guard

Jun 7, 2014, 8:00 PM EST

2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability Getty Images

SAN ANTONIO — Emptying out my notebook like people are emptying out kegs at River Walk bars….

Tim Duncan has joked before he wants to be a point guard, and he was asked again by a reporter on Saturday if Gregg Popovich should let him.

“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 joked.

Popovich played along.

“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.”

Tony Parker does not exactly worry about his job security, and probably doesn’t have to after Duncan’s five turnovers in Game 1.

“Are we still talking about that?  I can’t believe they brought it up in the NBA Finals (laughter),” Parker joked. “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.”

• Popovich was asked about the three-point shot and how it has changed the game, and as you can expect with Pop he was honest and blunt:

“I hate it. To me it’s not basketball but you gotta use it. If you don’t use it, you’re in big trouble. But you sort of feel like it’s cheating. You know, like two points, that’s what you get when you make a basket. Now you get three, so you gotta deal with it. I don’t think I don’t think there’s anybody who is not dealing with it.”

• There’s been a lot of talk online and on sports talk radio about LeBron James’ comment to ESPN Friday that he’s the easiest target in sports. You can debate amongst yourselves whether that is true or not, but Shane Battier had interesting thoughts about what’s different about LeBron James’ celebrity.

“He is the first (basketball) mega-star of the twitter generation. So the world was introduced to LeBron when he was in high school as a 14-year-old, there isn’t a fact or a wrinkle or a blemish about him that the general populace doesn’t know about already. Everybody feels they know him and so everyone feels they can critique him because they’ve known him for so long. That’s not something Jordan ever had to go through, or Bird or Magic. I blame it on the information age, and it’s a sign of the times….

“LeBron is complicit in it. You accept everything that goes along with being King James, then you are complicit. Blood is on his hands, too. But he understands that and he deals with it.”

• If you’re still trying to make a conspiracy theory out of the air conditioning situation in Game 1 — and if so you need to take the tin foil hat off and seek help — I will throw you tis bone.

• We’ve written at PBT a couple of times about Boris Diaw has been a game-changer for the Spurs in this series. Here is what Chris Bosh said about the problems Diaw presents:

“He’s a crafty player, man, he’s difficult. You never know what he’s going to do. You don’t know if he’s going to shoot it, you don’t know if he is going to drive it, pass it, shoot it again, you don’t know what he’s going to do. I think his ability to do everything in that point forward position makes it difficult. He’s another one of those guys, we’re really going to have to lock in on him, and really do a number on him individually to slow him down. Because when he’s driving and kicking to guys and getting you confused, then you don’t rotate, now he’s hitting threes — he’s one of those players that confuses the hell out of you.”

• Eric Spoelstra also addressed the Boris Diaw problem.

“He’s multi dimensional, puts the ball on the floor, great vision,” the Heat coach said. “You could see with the passes that he made the other night. So we have to do what we do, but do it better, do it with a little bit more thought tendencies, and so forth.”

• Shane Battier talked about how the scouting reports he gets on players he will guard: “I get basic splits — right/left, drives, dribble jumpers vs. spot jumpers, left shoulder vs. right shoulder in the post, basic tendencies.”

So how is that different from what he got when he first entered the league?

“When I first started scouting reports consisted of ‘ya, that guy likes to go left’ and that’s it. ‘Great driver’ and it was like come on, give me a little bit more than that. Now you can tell how good a guy is driving vs. shooting, how good a guy is going left vs. going right, how often he goes left vs. right. You understand what a guy is and what he’s not.”

• Battier was asked to give something off a scouting report of a current player (not in the Finals) and chose Carmelo Anthony.

“You make Carmelo Anthony go right. When he’s on the left block make him go right. He does not want to go right. His percentages go down, his foul drawing goes down, if he goes left it is not good for the defender.”

• Spoelstra gave a shout out to Greg Oden:

“Greg Oden is one of the biggest success stories in this league, and unfortunately people are only judging him by the fact of how many minutes he plays. Two years ago people were saying he would never play the game again and he’s available every night.”

Spoelstra is right. Where most guys would have quit and lived comfortably the rest of their lives off their first contract. He worked hard to get back, to get on the Heat. Maybe he wasn’t everything Miami hoped, but that Oden is here, in the Finals, is a massive accomplishment.

  1. captainwisdom8888 - Jun 7, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    I respect the hell out of the Spurs, but I still can’t stand how fundamentally effective they are and how often they find themselves in the Finals. There’s nothing bad I can even say about them which is the most frustrating part.

    • ranfan12 - Jun 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      Worse thing you could call them is boring champions. That’s the only consistent insult I’ve read for multiple years

    • antistratfordian - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      They don’t find themselves in the finals that often. This is the first time they’ve ever made it this far in back-to-back seasons. So there’s something about what they do that makes them a little less reliable in the playoffs than you’d expect.

      And this is Duncan’s 6th finals in how many years? 16? 17? LeBron has already been there 5 times and he’s not even 30. He’s probably going to be there again next year. He’s only been to the playoffs 9 times. 5 finals in 9 playoff visits.

      • Nadeem - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:43 AM

        Unlike LeBron, Tim did not ask all his buddies to create a super team. He wanted to compete against the best as opposed to avoiding them by teaming up. There is no comparison between the Spurs teams and Miami teams. All LeBron did was lose when he was the lone start on the team. Tim Duncan practically won 2 championships by himself (2003 and 2005)

      • antistratfordian - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:16 PM

        Why would he have had to? Duncan was drafted to a team with David Robinson! LeBron was drafted to a team whose biggest star was Ricky Davis. James would’ve have went anywhere if he was drafted to a team with Hakeem Olajuwan or Kareem Abdul Jabbar. So that’s a poor argument.

        And unlike James, Duncan has never taken a team to the Finals without another hall of famer by his side.

      • iritian - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:52 AM

        If Lebron played in the west his whole career i doubt he’d even reach 9 playoffs in 10 years, let alone 5 finals.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:49 AM

        If LeBron played in the West (or anywhere else outside of Ohio) he would’ve had better teammates instead of the flotsam around him in Cleveland – so I think it would be at least the same, if not better.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 8, 2014 at 4:11 AM

      f you make believe you’re the pea brain CantonPeaBrain you’ll be able to hate on them just fine.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 8, 2014 at 4:12 AM

        f = If
        Reply was to CaptainWisdom.

  2. montrealknowledge - Jun 7, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    Heat showing love to Diaw because they want him in Tiago is the non big 3 member from either team that will be the difference.

  3. elcaminobilly - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    I hope Oden gets a chance to play in the finals. Even if it’s just a minute or two.

  4. Professor Fate - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    “Danny Green says Spurs had cooling fans in their locker room at halftime. Heat did not have them. Adam Silver said he wasn’t aware of that.”

    Gosh, it’s too bad these finals are so lopsided in the rich Spurs’ favor. Maybe someone can put up a Kickstarter account so the poor Heat can buy some fans to bring with them. Home Depot is right down the street.

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