Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 4/6/12

It’s the day every San Antonio Spurs fans have been dreading for years now: the day Tim Duncan finally decides to call it quits. But the good news is, that day may not be as close as most people think.

Since Duncan’s contract is up at the end of this year, it’s been a popular belief that this might be his last season in the NBA. Timmy has other plans.

“I love playing,” Duncan told Yahoo! Sports. “I’m a competitor. So my enjoyment level is real high.”

Duncan intends to keep playing until he’s not effective any more or he’s not enjoying what he’s doing. I don’t think anyone can argue that he’s put in more than his share this year. Aside from sitting out a few games and some reduced minutes, he looks just like the Duncan we’ve always known.

A big part of that is the way the team is working. The Spurs have so much depth that they can rotate players in and out to give Duncan some rest and not lose the talent level on the floor. The rest for Tim was going to be inevitable this year, but I don’t think anyone expected the rest of the Spurs to step up as well as they have.

Duncan also has his coach to thank for his extended career.

“He’s everything,” Duncan said of Coach Pop. “He has been the perfect coach for me. He understands what I need even if I don’t understand as a player what I need health-wise and time-wise. He continues to push me. He gets on my ass. He allows me to be a player, and at the same time I’m learning every day.”

Tim Duncan has found the perfect system to thrive and keep his hall-of-fame career going. As long as he stays away from injury (knock on wood), I expect we’ll see Timmy D for a few more years.

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