Former NBA Champ Nazr Mohammed explains how San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan was one of the toughest players he ever had to guard.
Tim Duncan is one of the most decorated players in NBA History. The big man dedicated almost 2 long decades to the San Antonio Spurs and helped them be one of the most successful organisations in the league.
There is virtually no accolade Timmy hasn’t achieved. During the 1,392 games he played in his 19-year stint as a professional basketball player, Duncan was a 15-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA, 15-time All-Defensive, 5-time NBA Champ, 3-time Finals MVP, 2-time MVP, and arguably one of the best big men to set foot on the hardwood.
Even though Tim didn’t have a “flashy” style of play, he gave buckets to every player who tried to guard him, using the insanely deep offensive arsenal he had in his bag. Former NBA Champion and Duncan’s teammate for 2 seasons, Nazr Mohammed explains how the Spurs legend was one of the most difficult players he had ever faced.
“Even when Tim Duncan was one of the top players in the world, he was expanding his game”: Nazr Mohammed
Back in 2015, Naz had an interview with “The Players’ Tribune”, where he was asked to name the 6 toughest players he had ever guarded. Alongside naming Shaquille O’Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, and Kevin Garnett, Naz also mentioned his Spurs teammate Tim Duncan.
“When I was with the Spurs, the big men had this drill we would do after practice called “Follow the Leader.” How it worked was basically one guy would be the leader and perform a post-move on the block, and then the rest of the guys would try to do the same move — same number of dribbles, same footwork, same everything. Tim usually led the drill, and watching him perform it showed you why he was such a special player. We’d do this drill for 15 or 20 minutes, and Tim would never do the same move twice.
When you were guarding him, he had a move, and a counter, and another counter, and then about 50 other counters just in case the first three moves didn’t work out. And you could always tell that he had scouted you because he’d devise a unique way to attack you based on what you did to slow him down the last time you played. Tim is the perfect example of what happens when you combine skill, talent and work ethic.
Even when he was considered one of the top two or three players in the world, he was always expanding his game. He didn’t come into the league with that bank shot, but over time he mastered it. He’d face you up, jab you, measure you, then pull up and bank it off the corner of the painted square on the glass.
Defenders thought crowding him when he faced up was the way to stop this move. But of course Tim figured out this was a perfect way to draw fouls by starting his shooting motion when you reached in. The low post was his office, and he had unlimited resources to do his job. Having long arms and big hands only helped his cause.”