The big fundamental and greatest small forward of all time Tim Duncan stopped by The Ringer’s “Real Ones” podcast and was asked about today’s NBA.
His response sounds eerily similar to the folks that now leave the NBA in their rear view mirror.
“There’s a lot of things that I like and enjoy about it, and there’s a lot of things that I hate about it,” Duncan said. “I hate the way the game’s being officiated at times, how they’ve underpowered the effect of a post player so that you’re allowed to beat the crap out of a post player. You’re allowed to take him off his spot. You’re allowed to hit him, bump him while they’re shooting. But if you turn and face and go out to the 3-point line, and you shoot the ball and fall down, all of a sudden, the whistle is blown.”
This is fair. NBA players are bigger, faster, and stronger, so why don’t we let them play more physical? The money. And that’s really all there is to it. If the league has assets worth north of $50 million annually — they aren’t going to let Bill Laimbeer do his thing.
Makes sense, but there should be a middle ground. Duncan went on to discuss the issues with defending three-point shooters:
“So they’re protecting the shooters away from the basket. It overpowers some of the players that are away from the basket, and it underpowers post players who use their bodies and their physicality around the basket.”
Everything the future Hall of Famer said is objectively true, and the league knows it. They even invented a rule called the “Zaza rule” where defenders are given a flagrant foul if they stand in a shooter’s “landing zone”. This rule came about after then San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard was undercut by Zaza Pachulia that led to a series-ending sprained ankle. Kind of difficult to defend shooters if you can’t get anywhere near them.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich went off during the post-game interview.
Gregg Popovich didn’t hold back on whether he thought ZaZa intended to hurt Kawhi. pic.twitter.com/p8O3D8SvvA— Hoops ON Tap (@SONTHoops) May 15, 2017
So, the NBA is obviously too soft and it’s an issue. Duncan’s complaints will fall on deaf ears for financial reasons, but they’re still worth hearing.
We feel you, Tim.