Boris Diaw: Tim Duncan has six or seven seasons left in him


Tim Duncan will return for his 19th season. He’ll play the “same boring game,” scoring efficiently from mid-range and in, grabbing rebounds and defending without fouling.

How many more years can the 39-year-old Duncan keep doing this?

Spurs teammate Boris Diaw, via Sports Illustrated:

I don’t know – six, seven.

I have no idea, but he’s always good. He’s always great. He’s just a great example for all the young kids, everybody.

He’s always 100 percent when we do practice. He’s always the first guy to the gym and working. He’s got a great work ethic.

He doesn’t jump as often, and so he doesn’t wear his ligaments and his muscles and everything. He’s just playing the same very basic basketball, but it works so great because he’s such a master at all the moves and everything. So, that makes him be able to take advantage of players who are more athletic and younger than him.

Diaw chuckled when he said that, but I don’t think it’s completely unrealistic.

Duncan is declining – not as rapidly as most players, though it’s hard to project whether that will continue. More concretely, he’s declining from such a high peak, giving him more room for error. If Duncan’s production decreases by 15% every year – and it hasn’t so far – he’ll remain a viable NBA player for a while.

There are assets that he won’t lose, namely height and fundamentals. That’s a big start.

Though he’s less reliant on athleticism than most players, he still needs some to compete in the world’s best league. He also needs to continue his good injury luck, which his training can help.

Duncan isn’t the first player to fit that profile. Most other players who do don’t play into their mid-40s due to ego. They don’t want to become role players as their talent erodes with age. At that point, they prefer retirement. I doubt, based purely on precedent of other players, Duncan is different.

But if he’s comfortable eventually becoming a backup and then maybe even a bench-warmer, it’s hardly impossible to see him extending his career well beyond the usual limits.

Rudy Gobert throws shade at Team USA for excluding Derrick Favors


USA Basketball announced its expected minicamp attendees, prompting one major Utah Jazz question:

Where’s Trey Burke?

Turns out, Team USA had a late change of heart and invited Michael Carter-Williams instead. Simple enough.

But Jazz center Rudy Gobert wondered about a different Utah teammate:

That Derrick Favors didn’t make the 34-player camp speaks to the Americans’ depth. None of these players are headed to Las Vegas:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • Paul Millsap
  • Jeff Teague
  • Danny Green
  • Zach Randolph
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • Greg Monroe
  • Khris Middleton
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • DeMarre Carroll

That list doesn’t even include players like Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, who chose not to attend. The U.S. is just loaded with talent.

It’s not hard to argue Favors should have been invited over some players who were. But try making the case he belongs on the final 12-man Olympic roster. That’s practically impossible, making this snub mostly academic.

But if Gobert wants to cape for his teammate, that’s just great.

Boban Marjanovic says he wants to play for Serbia at EuroBasket but it’s in Spurs’ hands


The Spurs were clear in the letter they sent to the Serbian national team about their new signing, 7’3″ center Boban Marjanovic.

“After a physical exam, which included a MRI, San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanović has been diagnosed significant bony edema in his left ankle… As a result of these findings and in the best interest of his future health, Spurs officials have informed Marjanović and the Serbian Basketball Federation that, under the agreement between FIBA and the NBA, Marjanović will not be allowed to participate with the Serbian National Team in Eurobasket 2015.”

That doesn’t mean Marjanovic and the Serbians are happy about it. Both Marjanovic’s agent and the Serbian national team tried to get Gregg Popovich to change his mind, saying their pre-camp physical did not show an edema. Good luck with that.

Marjanovic explained the situation in an interview with the Serbian paper Blic, translated by Project Spurs.

“I’m so sorry for everything that happened, I had a great desire and motivation to play for the national team,” Marjanovic told Blic. “With impatience I waited start preparing the national team and work with the screen Djordjevic, but nothing is in my hands. From the first days of preparation there was a great atmosphere in the team, it’s a fantastic group of guys that I am convinced that it will be able to achieve the desired goal and placed on the Olympics.”

EuroBasket takes place this summer with the top two teams getting into the Olympics, and a few more qualifying for the Olympics play-in tournament next summer (in 2016, right before the Olympics). The USA has already qualified for the 12-team Olympic tournament in Rio. Host Brazil will get a spot if they pay FIBA some back dues/money over the next couple days, if not they have to play their way in. Because FIBA.

If Serbia can make it to the games in Rio — they did not qualify for the 2012 games in London — then Marjanovic can play. Maybe. It is Popovich and the Spurs.


Team USA announces 34 expected minicampers: DeAndre Jordan and Michael Carter-Williams in, Derrick Rose out


Team USA started with a 28-player pool for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

That was narrowed for the World Cup with two players added, bringing the total to 30.

A few more players were added during World Cup tryouts, increasing the pool to 33.

A report last month listed seven newcomers, giving the Americans 40 known candidates for Rio.

Today, Team USA announced 34 players – including two previously unknowns – were expected to attend next week’s minicamp, which USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called mandatory for Olympic consideration:

  • Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
  • Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
  • Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
  • Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
  • Michael Carter-Williams (Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
  • Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
  • DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
  • Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
  • Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
  • Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings)
  • Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
  • Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
  • Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
  • James Harden (Houston Rockets)
  • Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic)
  • Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
  • Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets)
  • Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
  • Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)
  • Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
  • Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Mason Plumlee (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
  • John Wall (Washington Wizards)
  • Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

At this point, there aren’t many surprise inclusions. The two big ones: Jordan and Carter-Williams, neither of whom had previously been mentioned for the player pool. Jordan has emerged as one of the NBA’s best centers, and he could definitely make the Olympic roster. The road will be much more difficult for Carter-Williams, who has a strong crop of point guards in front of him.

Carter-Williams’ additions probably has something to do with the players previously in the pool who aren’t expected to attend the minicamp:

  • Tyson Chandler (Phoenix Suns)
  • Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors)
  • Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
  • David Lee (Boston Celtics)
  • Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
  • Deron Williams (Dallas Mavericks)

Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke was reportedly extended a minicamp invite but he’s not on the list of expected attendees. It’s unclear whether the report was inaccurate or Burke declined.

Lillard and Rose are the big losses. Lillard seems fed up with USA Basketball, so his no-show will be no surprise. Rose’s is a little less expected, though we saw the possibility coming. Rose played in the World Cup, and it seemed his relationship with Team USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau helped secure him a roster spot. Since the Bulls have fired Thibodeau, maybe that distanced Rose from USA Basketball. More time off could certainly help the point guard after his multiple serious injuries.

Bottom line: This player pool is strong, and Colangelo will have no trouble assembling the best roster in the world before the 2016 Olympics. The key is finding the ideal roster – the one that best blends talent and fit. This minicamp will be mostly ceremonial, but that process will continue there.

Matt Bonner bests Brian Scalabrine in playground knockout game (VIDEO)


Two-thirds of the NBA players with a “Mamba” nickname squared off in a game of knockout at a recent charity event — the Spurs Matt Bonner vs. former NBA player Brian Scalabrine. I’m sure Kobe Bryant wanted to be there, but he has this whole “Nike-fueled tour of China” thing going on.

This is the best battle of knockout between NBA-level red heads you will ever see. Bonner eeks out the win with the dagger three.

Hat tip to Eye on Basketball.