I’m going to go ahead and admit that I haven’t always been a big fan of Tim Duncan because his playing style isn’t exactly the most exciting to watch. With that said, I’m fully aware that there is genius and beauty in his game that has allowed him to average 20.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.3 blocks per game over his 13-plus year career.
This year however, I’ve been watching Duncan closely because he’s on my fantasy basketball team. The truth is I stepped away from my computer after my fourth pick and couldn’t make it back before Duncan was autopicked as my fifth pick. I was a little upset at the time because I had another player in mind, but I’m proud to say the autopick function actually worked.
On November 30, Duncan recorded only his third regular season triple-double — he has four in the postseason — and last week he put up 28 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and four blocks in a win against Denver. Earlier this season, Duncan passed David Robinson as the Spurs’ all-time leading scorer and this past Saturday he reached 21,000 points for his career.
Tim Duncan has never been the most athletic player or the faster player on the court, but his perfection of the basics make up for his lack of flash. For most people, his lack of athleticism would be a curse, but his fundamentals allow him to be almost ageless when it comes to his effectiveness on the court. Instead of a curse, his style of play is actually a gift because it has increased the longevity of his career. His lack of explosiveness is a blessing to his bones, joints and ligaments, and his lack of injuries over his career provide proof of that.
Duncan can complement any player on the court. He understands not only his position, but everyone else’s position as well – and that’s rare for a guy of his size. If you followed Tim Duncan during his years at Wake Forest, you might remember him having a good looking stroke from the college three-point line, as that was one of facets of his game that made him so difficult to guard.
Not only has Duncan been consistent with his production on the court, he has also been consistent with his attitude and contributions off the court. It’s rare for someone who has achieved what he has over the last 13 years to cause little to no distractions in the locker – and that’s because he doesn’t feed the media any good quotes to dissect. Dime‘s Austin Burton was the victim of a classic stone-cold no-nonsense interview with Duncan earlier this year. He shows up for work to play basketball, and although he doesn’t say much, his statements on the court are all he needs to say.
There are many players who have consistently put up solid numbers over their career, but they don’t have the hardware to show for it. Duncan already has four rings, two MVP trophies and the Spurs have a legitimate shot to add another NBA title to the trophy case this season. With a 23-3 record going into tonight’s game against the Suns, the Spurs are off to the best start in franchise history. Yes, Duncan’s numbers are down this year, averaging a career low 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, but his presence on court is virtually the same – and you can still count on him to step up when it matters most.
With Manu Ginobili playing out of his mind right now, Duncan no longer has to take the last shot, but that doesn’t mean he won’t.
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