Learning from Tim Duncan

The Mavs Spurs game last night was another great game. Neither team is seemingly ever out of the game. The reason is simple. Each team has a player that is pure greatness. Watching Dirk is of course amazing. He does thing no other 7 footer can, and often punctuates possessions with a jumper that is so smooth that as the ball falls through the cords, you immediately think of Wesley Snipes line from White Men Can’t Jump: “Pretty, so Pretty”

Tim Duncan may not be quite as silky when it comes to shooting his jumper, but he has certainly earned “The Big Fundamental” nickname. This isnt a guy who gets tons of screens, or who comes off a pick and rolls for most of his points. This isnt a guy who amazes you with quickness or leaping ability. Tim Duncan is a player who more often than not is going 1 on 1 with a defender and knows exactly what angles to take to get the best shot and what angles to use in his shots. If any kid doesnt think geometry applies to basketball, watch Tim Duncan. Tim is the master of precision in angles and motion.

I would be lying if I didnt say that players and coaches in the Mavs organization don’t try to learn from Tim. We do. Every year he, like Dirk, adds something to his game that gives him an edge. Its what all the great ones do. Work hard to do what they do better, and to add something new each year.

I truly am a Duncan fan, any real NBA fan is. But, Im obviously a Mavs fan first and last and I can’t stand the Spurs. Judging by the Spurs fans reaction to me after the game last night, they aren’t big Mark Cuban or Dallas Mavericks fans either. I like that. Makes for great Rivalries.

So in the interest of helping future NBA players out there, and in maybe helping other teams possibly figure out TD just a little bit, I decided to post a video of the new move that Tim added last year, and has improved on this year. I call it the Duncan Chop. Its perfectly legal, which makes it postiively brilliant.. Its something every post player should add to their game.

Simply put, as Duncan turns over his left shoulder towards the basket, he “chops” away the defenders arm. It sometimes throws the defender off balance a little. It sometimes misdirects the defenders attention. Its subtle enough to give TD an edge. All in all its a great, great move. We all should learn from it. Here is a video of TD tearing us up with it last year.

64 thoughts on “Learning from Tim Duncan

  1. Do you guys think Duncan is the best power forward of all time?

    I think Malone and Barkley in their prime would eat him alive, but what do I know?

    Comment by Hook -

  2. I never understood this Tim Duncan guy and why he is praised as a great player. I just don\’t get it. This guy can\’t shoot, he can\’t make free throws, doesn\’t shoot 3 pointers. All he does is cry over every play. Hes not a good player hes just big and strong and scores when hes one foot from the net. It\’s a joke. Dirk Nowitzki is true talent. He earns his money and is the best player in the NBA. When the mavs win the finals and Dirk get MVP it will speak for itself.

    Comment by Eric -

  3. Subtle move all right .. I blinked and missed it ..

    Comment by Family Man -

  4. We thought this was such a great move! We had to add it to our website! Check it out now at http://43drills.com/basketball/learn-from-tim-duncans-post-moves/

    Comment by 43 drills -

  5. Tim Duncan is probably the best team player in the NBA.
    Of course Dallas has amazing talent in Dirk. Dirk is outright amazing, but doesn’t quite do it as much for the team.

    Either way the Mavs and Spurs are awesome and do great things for NBA ball.

    Anyone that says Tim Duncan (or Dirk) is boring does not understand bball, but prefers selfish playground ball.

    Comment by Sports CrimsonLight -

  6. Let’s hope your sarcasm isn’t falling on deaf ears, Mark!

    Comment by Melissa -

  7. Where’s the chop? I watched this entire video and I see Duncan spinning left and right (i.e. posting up) but I don’t see his hand chopping at the defender. Either I need to get my eyes checked or Cuban is simply seeing Timmy-monsters under his bed. If you want to see someone work his off hand, watch Adam Morrison. He uses his off-hand as a weapon. It’s like watching a 6th grader play. Unbelievable.

    Comment by Ramsey -

  8. Here not whom to love…

    Comment by Jon -

  9. I don’t understand the sarcasm against Tim Duncan! Whether you like the guy or not, he is a great player. He wins championship. Maybe Mark Cuban should loose his morbid obsession with Tim Duncan and concentrate on building up Dirk Nowitz. He needs to do that for the Mavericks to win a championship.

    Comment by Art Yenny -

  10. YES, Duncan surely is a great player though his style sometimes dull. I am not his fan and don’t like his style, but as a team, Duncan is really important and he is quite reliable, i think.

    Comment by SIBE -

  11. hmm do i smell sarcasm??? maybe… i like it mark. i like it.
    duncan going 2 for 9 on an almost illegal (hook) move very good.
    and even to the nay sayers that will say “he got fouls on dallas big men” yes he did. but he cant shoot freethrows at all. i like it mark.

    Comment by jesse -

  12. I love watching TD too, but for such a fundamentally solid player, dude misses a lot of free throws.

    Comment by Gino -

  13. It is a good move. And he is a good player. Too bad Youtube quality is so bad.

    Comment by basketball -

  14. Tim Duncan is the most fundamental player in the league. He is very good at what he does. With that said he is also the biggest cry baby in the league. For this I blame the league. They have given him so many calls over the years now he expects every call. The spurs are a good team and were an absolutley great team. Now they are on the way down and cry about everything. I can barely watch a game with Tim Duncan because seeing him cry about every call gets so old. I think he could punch someone in the nose and still argue the call. I dont remember him ever getting teeth knocked out and returning to the game. ( I could be wrong about that though) I know for sure the big bad German has done it. Dirk is twice as tough and twice as much fun to watch.

    Comment by Greg R -

  15. ice cube, lets us know down in the alamo city home of the 3 time world champions when ur mavs win 1. until then it sounds like u r crying as usual. duncan is one of the best players of all time and the rings to prove it.

    move on to something else. its getting old hearing u cry about the refs every year.

    Comment by harry carry -

  16. “i liked it better when you actually complained instead of just pretending you like everything.”


    Complaints cloaked as fake praise is so 4th grade. This is below you, Mark.

    Comment by doug -

  17. Wow, I don’t know how the Spurs ever won a championship with all the “Duncan chops” and dirty players that they have..I know it couldn’t be because they are actually a talented team..and 3 championships…according to you Mark, they’ve relied on illegal, dirty tactics and should be given no props or kudos for their accomplishments…keep up the wonderful blogs and informative videos about Tim’s moves…hopefully the refs will watch and stop this dirty team from advancing to any more finals games…

    Comment by Jen -

  18. I find it hilarious that people aren’t ‘getting’ the sarcasm.

    It’s a shot at the NBA for allowing an illegal move, this is probably Marks most brilliant blog 🙂

    Comment by Gary -

  19. Timmy still has the attitude that his poo doesn’t stink.

    Comment by Wally -

  20. Mark, how would you like it if your team, the Mavs had won 3 championships yet a team down the road, the Spurs continued to openly criticize or point out that your players were dirty and had counted on this to win games..Well, probably you will say, you wouldn’t care but come on…i know you hate the Spurs but what about respect once in a while…why continue this game of why they don’t deserve anything and why your team is better…why not just win some championships and let that speak for itself..

    Comment by Pierre -

  21. Mark, I’m happy to hear you give kudos to Timmy. When I was a kid and a Laker fan, I hated the Celts, but then over time, grew to realize how great Bird, McHale, et al were. I’m sure it pains you even more to recognize how good Duncan is.
    And too bad Youtube’s video quality is so poor…oh well. I’m sure you’re workin’ on your own solution to that problem!

    Comment by basketball drills -

  22. Mr. Cuban, I’m an 84 year old mother, grandmother, and greatgrandmother and one of the Mavericks most loyal fans…I had the privilege of attending one Mav game for my 80 th birthday and it was great, even though we lost…I live in a retirement village and we can’t control what stations there are to watch, but fortunately the sports stations are available….One exception, when we are viewed on FSN local they black us out and we can’t go to another station like you can when you have your own Dish or Cable…..However, I asked them to have the cable people program us in on our blank channel 3 on those nights and sure enough, most of the time they do.
    I admire you for all you are trying to do for basketball. The only thing I ask is you be very careful with your language and actions because you have a little one that could inadvertently suffer for her/his actions. I watch all of the teams and it makes me sick to see in the news where the team that we ripped apart didn’t get beaten by the Mavs but their main players had this shot or that shot and the points they made, never giving us credit for the upset or beating we gave them…..There are so many cry babies out there that it is disgusting…..I know you like Duncan, but he’s a big cry baby, until he makes one good play and then you would think he was just elected President…Nash is another, he spends more time talking to the ref…….and so does Pop with the Spurs….It’s sickening watching them gripe all the time. And of course there is “Look at me I’m the greatest” Kobe….He’s a smart aleck if there ever was one. I’m so proud of My Mavs, they come across as gentlemen and I can’t wait for each game….the late ones are a little hard to stay up for, but I do, even if they are losing, God forbid. Which brings me to the fact that I pray for them and thank the Lord for every good play they make. I have wanted to write to you for a long time, but just never got up the nerve…Now that I have, If you ever answer any of these it would thrill me to death. I’m also a great Cowboys fan and fortunately I have a big 50″ TV with a full split screen and can watch both or two basketball games at the same time…That’s when it gets fun…..If I have to get one og the new TV’s I hope they still come with the ability to see two full screens at the same time and not just one of those little inset things.
    I love you and take care of my Mavs.

    Comment by Sally Schmidt -

  23. I watched Tim Duncan throughout his college career and with the spurs, I have great admiration for what he has achieved both in college and with the spurs. Hes maturity/attitude and skills are great for the league and for the emerging Spurs-Mavericks rivalry. Like every great rivalry there has to be some side-show drama, that is, drama outside the realm of basketball and for this I have to commend you (Mark Cuban). You have proved to be the greatest hype-man in the NBA, with more entertaining drama than the likes of Dennis Rodman. But, unless the Mavericks win it all, all this drama will amount to nothing but empty hype. Tim and the Spurs have their rings, its time the Mavericks to claim theirs! Time is running out, the west is getting better and more immediately teams like the Suns and Huston will in the next couple of seasons make their run. Truth be told, I think the Spurs still have it in them to win one more ring!!

    Comment by magpie -

  24. Yeah, I liked it better when you outright complained. Anyway, I would have liked to have seen some slo-mo and close-ups of the move. I couldn’t tell anything from watching those clips.

    Meanwhile, Tim Duncan, as much as I like him, should never be called the Big Fundamental until he learns to hit a high percentage at the free throw line. If you can’t hit free throws, you lack fundamentals.

    Comment by GM -

  25. I don’t know why Mark is claiming that this is some special move. I see that same arm movement by every player that takes a turn around jump shot in the post. It seems to me to be a natural reaction on a spin move.

    The reason Tim is so good in the post is not because he knocks his man off balance. Tim is great because he has a soft touch and a quick first step. He has just enough of a jumper to keep defenders honest and this gives him a great first step to get by his defenders. He also has a variety of ways to finish, which keeps big men off guessing.

    Comment by David -

  26. TD is a good reperesentative of the NBA. He is cleancut, well-spoken, and comes off as a good, likable guy… This is why he gets every call in the game. The NBA can market him much better than most players. Its the same way with Lebron.

    If TD has some big off-the-court scandal like Kobe did, he will quit getting all the calls. Look at Kobe… he was the face of the NBA until the rape accusations. I couldnt watch a basketball game without seeing 1/3 of the commercials with him. Now… he is nowhere to be seen.

    Comment by Kip Nickell -

  27. I have to admit, I enjoyed the comments more than the post honestly lol.

    Comment by jack -

  28. By the way, could someone please post for league officials a video of Ginobili travelling through the lane and then flailing like he’s having a seizure in order to draw a foul? That’s legal too, and he must have spent hours perfecting it because he still draws that call.

    Comment by Ben in Denver -

  29. I’m an admirer of Duncan for how much work he puts in in the off-season. He’s constantly seeking to improve his game, which is what I believe the best athletes do (see MJ and Tiger). I guess that means he spends hours perfecting new, legal moves. Heh.

    I grew up a Pistons fan. Everyone hated Bill Laimbeer. We Pistons fans loved him. We love ‘Sheed. Hey, if he can complain and not get T’d up, more power to him. If Laimbeer or Rodman can flop and if Duncan can chop and get away with it, should he not try it? I guess Mark’s not really saying that Duncan shouldn’t do it, and I would imagine that his admiration for how Duncan worked on perfecting it isn’t completely disingenuous. I think he recognized that Duncan is edging right up to that line to what is illegal and what is “gamesmanship” and is trying to nudge that line in the league officials’ minds so that Duncan’s toe will rest squarely over it.

    Comment by Ben in Denver -

  30. I like how none of the first people to post picked up on the fact that thats not legal and he just gets away with because hes TD. Ever heard of sarcasm people?

    Comment by J R -

  31. Interesting video. It would also be telling to compile a video of everytime Duncan catches the ball and travels. One move that seems to not be in his bag of tricks despite years of obvious greatness is the all too common jump stop. I will be on the lookout for that video, although it is easy enough to watch live everytime the Spurs are televised.

    Comment by andrew -

  32. TD’s so-called “chop” is a blip on the radar, not relevant, and hardly worth mentioning. Defenders in the post are allowed to put their hands on the offensive players (with arms bent) for crying out loud! It’s not a big deal if offensive players occasionally use their forearms to create space or push a defender’s hand off of them…they’ve been doing that for decades. It’s not like TD is swinging elbows in the post or blantantly pushing off his defenders…I think he only did it once from the video Cuban posted. Dirk is very good, but you’ll never see him make an All NBA Defensive team…the best power fowards in history have done so.

    Comment by CAE -

  33. After watching this video, I was just wondering..

    ..if we could trade for Pau? If it’s true they’re letting him out, it would be the gratest adquisition of the year. Just watch him over Yao on international games. Just imagine.. Pau, Dirk, Terry..

    You’ll be writting this blog with a pair of rings on in a couple of years on, believe. There are no all-star centers in the league apart from 2 or 3. Big Ben has became the 2nd best paid player in the history of the Bulls.. and bealive me, Pau could be at least 20 times more productive in both ends. Ben is nothing without a team, it’s clear, and Pau is an All-Star without it.( and 7 year younger! ) Make him play with a team in capital letters as the Mavs is and it could be the beginning of a dreaming dinasty…
    We”’ forget writting about learning from TD, cause they’ll be writting to learn from Pau, Dirk…

    Go Mavs Go!

    Comment by Redick -

  34. the only problem with the chop is that it telegraphs where he is planning to go, which more often than not is to the paint. i can’t wait for tim to figure out that he can..chop+take 1 dribble to the paint+stop+turn baseline and take a nice jumper off the glass. If you mix in a pump fake every now and then he’ll get 3-5 3pt plays a game easy!

    Comment by gcruz -

  35. Tim Duncan is the ultimate basketball player. A unique combination of physical talent, mental aptitude and heart. All that being said, it often leads to his getting the benefit of the doubt when there is any uncertainty. It is very frustrating as a fan of basketball to watch the favored player or team get that crucial call or non call(i.e. dwayne wade last year finals countless times, MJ on the Karl Malone steal and the byron russell push off for the game winner). Referees should be checked for any subconscious tendecies to favor great players.

    Comment by Walter Johnson -

  36. I am missing something here? How is it a great move if he missed virtually every shot attempt?

    Comment by Josh -

  37. Video posted by Mark is not conclusive regarding the “chop”. Bad quality. I am not big fun of Tim Duncan, because I saw him play during Olympics at 2002 and all his “antics” there didn’t work. He was picking fouls in bunches, especially on the offensive end. Also I think it is a mistake to compare Tim and Dirk, because of different styles. Duncan is primarily is a post up player. Where as Dirk is more of a shooter fade away guy. Also I see nothing wrong with people scoring of the screens. Nobody complains when guard penetrates and dumps the ball to the wide open center for the lay up or the dunk. Shaq gets 90% of points this way now a days. The NBA has the same problem as before: different application of rules toward different players.As said as it sounds it is all started with MJ, where he was always getting the benefit of a doubt.Finallly, NBA should stop tinkering with the rules on constant bases. Just let the players play and referees work.

    Comment by LA Kid. -

  38. that video is kind of grainy, is it just me or did TD miss almost all of those shots?

    Comment by adam kress -

  39. yes that TD chop is very irritating. That’s why the Mavs should trade either Croshere (very inconsistent, i think he’s worse than van horn) or devean george (lacks the hunger & is often injured probably because he has already has his rings) for reggie evans. Remember Evans who grabbed Kaman by the balls or calling Pau Gasol a “girl”? (i would certainly love it if he does that to TD). It would certainly give the the Mavs the needed swagger upfront while boosting interior defense & rebounding. But the most important thing Evans will add is that he’ll give opposing players (& coaches, remember Adelman in the Seattle-Sacramento series?)fits with his flops, swagger & of course, his antics. MC please trade for him!

    Comment by glenn -

  40. MARK!!…you can’t post Duncan without posting this man!!!

    Comment by Clt_Bobcats Watcher -

  41. I love Tim Duncan and always have since he joined the league in the late 90’s. The video you have given us is great. The 2nd half of that game you can really see how moving the defenders hand gets them off balance a bit. I personally think if a defender has his Hand (not his forearm) on your hip or waist that’s a foul. I coach H.S. and I know it’s different but they need to show the kids how it’s suppose to be played.

    Comment by Browie.com -

  42. Even though I’m not a Spurs fan, I have always thought Duncan is an amazing player…arguably the best in the NBA?

    Comment by SiteLead -

  43. Come one mark, that chop is the oldest trick in the book, every big man knows about it and has used it when they can.

    Comment by steve jones -

  44. Duncan is great and boring. San Antonio is great and boring. That move is illegal – nuff said. Now Mark on to something more interesting. I am so so on Damp. Whenn he plays hard I like him, when he doesn’t it sucks. I think the eyes should be looking at what is going on in Chicago. The matchup isn’t working out at all. If Skiles survives it, then Big Ben may be available – eh??? Can you vision Big Ben with the Mavs? WOW – and from a contract perspective aren’t the yearly amounts close? Whatcha think Mark?

    Comment by ajj0217 -

  45. i liked it better when you actually complained instead of just pretending you like everything.

    Comment by James -

  46. Mr. Cuban:

    I know or “invented” a basketball move that will DEFIINTELY change/revolutionize basketball: although very simple, no one has EVER used it and it’s PERFECTLY LEGAL (no traveling call or anything)! It’s a guaranteed 2 points or at least 2 free throws.

    I haven’t shared my idea with anyone yet. Let me know if you’re interested.


    Comment by Ziad Joseph Fadel -

  47. Oh no! I am afraid Mark Cuban has forgotten that Stern is ordering all NBA content off Youtube! An honest mistake, I am sure.

    Comment by Nathan -

  48. Hello Mark,
    congratulations, this is by far a much more effective, (and less expensive) way to express your frustrations with poor officiating. I see that your bill to date is a whopping 1.65 million. Ouch!!

    Ever thought about taking a yoga or Pilates class?

    By the way, I caught your interview with Michael Eisner. You were charming!!!

    Comment by Toni Marano -

  49. LMAO, for all of you n00bs that didn’t pick it up, he’s being sarcastic. That Duncan “chop” is ILLEGAL !!, that should be an offensive foul each and every time. It’s like devin driving to the hoop and pushing parker with his left arm so he’ll have a free lane. Of course he’s Duncan and gets away with it…

    Mark: Send those clips to the NBA and have them explain to you how’s that not an offensive foul. Maybe they’ll see you’re right and can/could start calling it like the “shaq’s-elbow-to-his-defender’s-face” move that he’s getting called for now everytime he does it, and used to get away with all the time.

    Comment by Alex -

  50. For some reason I sense a bit more sarcasm in Mark’s blog than others might be picking up on. Regardless, I can’t stand the spurs (and they can’t stand the Mavs nation) so as long as there is a “W” at the end of the night for the Mavs I don’t care how we got there. Great game!

    Comment by Jay -

  51. I hope the mavs make it to the finals again. The only complaint that I have with the Mavs is that they are not an aggresive basketball team. The Spurs are not either. It’s a wonder that either teams are able to put as many points on the board as both teams do. If you go back to the championship game you will notice in my opinion that the Mavs really didnt go after Wade the way they should. They need to put presure on the shooter on the outside and be very aggressive with the opposing centers. They seem to just give points away sometimes. The Mavs are my favorite team in the league but I would like to see a more aggressive defense…a presure defense. I’m glad Dallas has good shooters.

    Comment by dstewartx -

  52. For some reason, this seems like a complaint to league officials…Sure, when I watched the video, it seemed like Duncan missed just about every shot off the “Duncan Chop”, but it certainly seemed to work when it comes to getting him to the line.

    Comment by AJL -

  53. Actually that move is as old as the hills. I do like the way Mr. Cuban is taking lessons learned from Phil Jackson on how to work the officials through outside media.

    Good luck with that.

    Comment by Soapy Smith -

  54. As I can see you think that Tim is modest. I don’t know him exactly, so I won’t deny it. But I think it’s great, that there are still people who are modest and who give example for such people as we. Nothing private

    Comment by Rug -

  55. Just curious, how is it perfectly legal? A little more extension and it could easily become a hook.

    Comment by Matt -

  56. yes, very subtle. so subtle i can still hear your whining.

    Comment by Turko -

  57. Tim Duncan is one of the most boring players to have greatness in the NBA. He rarely displays outward intensity in his game.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  58. For some reason I dont think Dirk gets all the credit he deserves. He is as good as the best PF in the League and is much more fun to watch. Many Guards would love to have his jumpshot skills and accuracy. Overrated Garnett is not even close when it comes to crunch time but still I think he is more popular in the media.

    Comment by Rafael -

  59. that move reminds me of Beavis’ dancing.

    Comment by saM FFL -

  60. I was watching Pat Riley interview Kareem Abdul Jabbar on either one of ESPN channels or NBA TV and they were talking about the Sky Hook, and why no one now in the NBA consistently uses it. I would not be surprised if Tim Duncan adds that move into his repertoire as he gets older and needs to be more creative as a player. I too am not a Spurs fan, but you have to respect a guy like Duncan as an NBA fan!

    Comment by Andrew Beckman -

  61. Too bad Youtube video quality sucks! I thought you were the owner of HDNet!? Lets see a better version. 🙂 I’ll look for the move the next time I see the Spurs play.

    Comment by Colin D. Devroe -

  62. Glad to see you giving props to Tim. I watched him ‘grow up’ in the ACC without the accolades of his peers. He’s fun to watch.

    Comment by keithparnell.com -

  63. My favorite part of Tim Duncan last night was him jumping up and down and whining like a 3 year old at the end of the game when he did not get what he wanted. That being I said I do see why he has MVP awards and rings, he is a great player.

    Comment by Steve -

  64. Though I’m from San Antonio, I’m a Mavericks fan first. I have been for a while now but you to have to give other players their props… especially when they’re good like Tim.

    Comment by Rebeccalee Coventry -

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