Tim Duncan Interview
USA basketball senior team practices for the Americas Olympic Qualifying tournament have begun in New York. Stars on the team include Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Elton Brand and Tim Duncan. The U.S. team has an exhibition game against Puerto Rico in New York on August 15. The tournament is in Puerto Rico and begins on August 20. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and a few other reporters conducted this interview with Duncan right after the first day of practice.
Question: Was it hard for you to watch what happened with the U.S. team in Indianapolis last year, with team USA losing, and do you think that factored into a lot of guys' decisions to play on this team?
Tim Duncan: It did for me. It was tough to watch, but the reality is, everyone's getting better. Everyone's getting better all around the world. These are good basketball teams, these are good basketball players, they play a lot of basketball together. The bottom line is, we need to bring our best, we need to put our best foot forward, we need to be ready, to respect these guys and go out there and play hard.
Question: Is it mostly a matter of pride that motivates guys to do this?
Tim Duncan: It's a lot of it. And a lot of us really want to be here. We want to represent the country. It's an honor to play for your country. It's an honor to come out here and represent the U.S.
Question: So what does this team have to do to be ready?
Tim Duncan: It's all about time. It's all about being out here and practicing and everybody understanding the offense they put out here, and once you understand that it becomes more natural, everybody's going to fit in, and as we play, people will understand what each other does.
Question: How's the relationship with with Jason Kidd, after he didn't come to San Antonio to play for the Spurs?
Tim Duncan: Fine, I guess.
Question: Nothing uncomfortable?
Tim Duncan: No.
Question: What are some of the main things coach Larry Brown has emphasized to the team so far?
Tim Duncan: Respect and playing hard. We need to respect our opponents and come out here and, it being a 40, not a 48 minute game, we need to play hard from the jump-ball all the way through.
Question: And anything specific as far as what the team needs to do on the court?
Tim Duncan: He's really emphasizing team play. Really moving the ball around, really using the talent and the people we have, and making them (the opponents) pay. Not making them stand in front of people and letting guys have the ability to stand around and help-side because nobody's moving, or do a lot of movement. Just make guys respect all five players on the floor and have to adjust to everyone.