As expected, Tim Duncan hasn’t suddenly grown tired of the San Antonio Spurs or of playing in the NBA. The five-time NBA champions who’ll be entering his 18th season in the NBA decided to opt in to his contract for another year with the NBA champions, hoping he gets at least one more chance at going after another title ring.
Duncan, a two-time NBA MVP and three-time Finals MVP had a strong series against the Miami Heat, averaging 15.4 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs finished the job of finally winning that fifth NBA championship in five games. Duncan had three double-doubles in the series, averaging 33 minutes a night despite hitting 38 at the beginning of the playoffs. It might be a cliche, but when it comes to Duncan and other players on the Spurs, age is only a number.
Duncan seemed almost done with basketball after the 2010-2011 season. The Spurs were knocked out of the first round in the playoffs. He averaged only 13.4 points per game in that season, playing 28.4 minutes a night. The Spurs’ attempts to keep on pulling with the Duncan-Ginobili-Parker core were reached the end of the line. It wasn’t supposed to end with Popovich and Duncan finding room for a fifth NBA championship ring.
Duncan will make $10.3 million next season, and the Spurs have their big three, if there even is such a thing anymore, back for on more year. Like Ginobili and Parker, it will be the final season on Duncan’s contract with the Spurs, which makes it safe to assume we’ll be hearing plenty of speculations on whether it’ll be their last season together or not. Obviously Parker, the “baby” in the trio, has a few more years of prime to give the world, so the speculation will be more on whether or not he’ll carry on with the Spurs.
Duncan is the perfect example of how one can almost re-invent himself even after so many years. He lost weight, his ankle and other injury problems disappeared, and suddenly Popovich, with his smart resting regime, didn’t even have to use Duncan for limited 25 minute outings. He took care of him during the regular season, Duncan gave back in the playoffs. The team was no longer built on his ability, and everyone came out ahead for it.
Four rings, five rings, six rings, it doesn’t matter. Duncan’s place in history as a power forward or center is cemented. The arguments on whether or not he’s the best at his position will be left for squabbling fans. The feeling of envy from Shquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant will resonate and be forgotten. Tim Duncan doesn’t talk. He just does, the epitome of a perfect professional and everything the Spurs are about, through the good and bad times.