Found March 29, 2013 on
San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers
Why do we watch Tim Duncan? We don’t. Or at least we pretend not to. If writers avoid Duncan features it’s likely due to the fact that the definitive Duncan piece was already written years ago by Sports Illustrated.
The definitive Duncan piece wasn’t the article featured inside the magazine. It was a headline that read, “Substance Over Style,” and it appeared on the cover after Duncan swept the Lakers in the playoffs his second season. Most people skipped the feature inside the magazine, content the three-word headline captured everything there is to know about Duncan.
Tim Duncan has never been a hit with casual fans, who tend to schedule their weekly pickup games to coincide with Thursday nights the San Antonio Spurs headline TNT. Television executives cringe when Duncan manages to lead the San Antonio Spurs to the NBA Finals. His very existence is a blight on ratings and the casual fan’s general viewing experience.
No one wants to watch Tim Duncan, or at least until they no longer have an opportunity to watch Tim Duncan.
A funny thing happened this season. After a decade of fans begging the Spurs to go away, head coach Gregg Popovich finally obliged, sending Duncan home hours before playing the Miami Heat on a nationally televised game. Suddenly everyone that professed to hate watching the Spurs were outraged they were deprived the opportunity to do so.
Duncan would laugh at the irony if he were programmed to be amused at anything other than Joey Crawford.
I have literally watched every televised minute of Tim Duncan’s NBA career, dating back to the draft lottery the Spurs won his rights in—a span of time that covers a little more than half my life—and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I stumbled upon an angle that made Tim Duncan appealing beyond his ability to play basketball at a consistently high level, perhaps even relatable.
I had only been covering the Spurs for half a season, and credentialed to enter the Spurs locker room an even shorter amount of time than that. Then, looking across the room with most of the cameras and reporters cleared, I feared my time covering Duncan’s career wasn’t going to extend much longer beyond that season.
The Spurs were in the midst of being swept in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in what had been a particularly rough series for Duncan. He began that season playing MVP-quality basketball, but carrying too heavy a load amidst the injuries and struggles of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili that season left Duncan fatigued heading into the second round.
Once there, the Phoenix Suns exposed Duncan’s eroded legs with a barrage of pick-and-rolls.
On this particular night Duncan limped across a mostly empty locker room with the gait and pained expression of a man who had no business competing in an NBA game, let alone posting a double-double in an intense playoff game only an hour earlier.
It appeared the end was near.
Long thought to be some sort of emotionless robot, Duncan finally began to show otherwise. He was breaking down, and unlike a robot, his parts could not be replaced.
After losing to the Suns in the playoffs Duncan appeared the next season much lighter, having reshaped his body and game to compensate for his advancing age. His game drifted out to the perimeter, and the Spurs into a pick and roll powerhouse.
He wasn’t the same Tim Duncan, but he remained a brutally effective one. Watching a man we once thought invincible struggle against his own basketball mortality, especially with the grace and effectiveness Duncan has displayed in doing so, would be a compelling reason to tune in. But that’s not why we watch. We can get the same kicks with a better narrative watching Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, or Steve Nash do the same.
There has to be something unique to Tim Duncan for fans outside of San Antonio to watch the greatest power forward in NBA history.
With Duncan now a few years removed from his prime, both fans and media began to wax nostalgic on how under appreciated Duncan has been. Those 20-point, 10-rebound nights no longer the norm, each game Duncan hit those statistical markers was quickly deemed a throwback night. Every loss under these conditions was labeled a waste of a Duncan performance for which remained a limited and dwindling supply.
His absence from last year’s All-Star festivities wasn’t jarring, but it did leave a clear message. It was time to start appreciating one of the NBA’s ten greatest players ever while there was still time.
Over the summer Tim Duncan signed a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs (the third year is his option), and the early returns are he will fulfill and be underpaid for each of those three seasons.
There have been enough throwback Duncan games this season that referring to them as such now seems silly. It’s been an entire throwback season. Not since 2009 has Duncan had this much access to the depths of his offensive repertoire. Drop steps, spins, counters, up-and-unders, reverse pivots, jab and go drives—Duncan is executing all of them fluidly while blocking shots at career-high rates.
Duncan’s 23 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks in the Spurs win over the Denver Nuggets marked the fifth time Duncan has crossed the 20/10/5 threshold. No other NBA player has hit those marks more than once this season.
And he’s gaining steam. March has been Duncan’s best month of the season as he’s averaging 20 points, 11.6 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 32 minutes a game. 4
It’s been a brilliant renaissance for Duncan this season, and yet, this still isn’t why we watch.
After a barrage of Duncan-is-starting-the-year-brilliantly stories the world has gone back to taking Duncan’s performance for granted. A 20 and 10 night is no longer newsworthy, it’s expected from Duncan for any game that remains close enough for the Spurs to have to play him enough minutes to accumulate one.
The excitement over Duncan has settled for now and his presence ignored, or as we like to say in San Antonio, business as usual.
Though these nights are still in shorter supply than Duncan is currently leading us to believe, there are still enough that the time for celebrating how taken for granted he was is no longer today.
Why do we watch Tim Duncan? So we can finally appreciate his greatness after it’s already too late and gone.
BEST OF MAXIM
The San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan proved that he may be in the sunset of his career, but he can still provide thrilling game-sealing moments as witnessed in this “and 1."
Please click here to watch this video.
The post Video: Tim Duncan closes out the Clippers in dramatic fashion appeared first on Players View.
Is there anything Tim Duncan can't do? I love his approach to the game, instead of running around like a mad man, Timmy calmly walks to the opposite end of the floor to gather his thoughts because he knows he has to go sink an important free throw to put the icing on the cake. I know John Schumann wrote a great piece explaining why these aren't the same Spurs we have seen...
San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan’s resurrection this season has gone a bit unnoticed.
The past few seasons, Duncan started to look like father time had gotten a hold of him, but this season he’s looked like the player of old, averaging 17.6 points per game, 10 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and made his 14th All-Star Game appearance.
In a game last...
36-year-old, Tim Duncan, added another spectacular performance to his impressive season Friday, scoring a season-high 34 points, pulling down 11 boards, and hitting the game-winning shot to lead the Spurs to a 104-102 home victory over the Clippers. The win increased San Antonio’s lead over the Thunder for first place in the Western Conference to 2.5 games.
Tim Duncan had a season-high 34 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 2.2 seconds left, and the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers, 104-102, on Friday night.
Duncan also had 11 rebounds for San Antonio (55-17), which won its seventh straight at home. Tony Parker added 24 points and eight assists and Tiago Splitter had 14 points.
The San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers fought it out last night in San Antonio but in the end, the Spurs came out on top 104-102 to even the regular season series at two games a piece.
And carrying the Spurs to the win was none other than Tim Duncan who finished with an eye-opening stat line -- 34 points, 11 boards, 10-10 from free throw line, 12-19 from the floor, and...
Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 100-99 win over Denver on Wednesday night when Nuggets veteran guard Andre Miller missed a short jumper at the buzzer.
Danny Green added 20 points and Tony Parker had 18 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the race for the top spot in the Western...
Tim Duncan had a season-high 34 points, including a game-winning
three-point play with 2.2 seconds left, and the San Antonio Spurs
outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers 104-102 on Friday night.
AT&T CENTER--The crowd already on their feet, Tim Duncan and Blake Griffin took to the air on a collision course late in the fourth quarter that sent both crashing to the ground. It was, up until a few minutes later, the loudest ovation the AT&T Center has offered all season.
It was a rare demonstrative night from Duncan. In the moment the 36-year old Duncan challenged...
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tim Duncan had a season-high 34 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 2.2 seconds left, and the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers 104-102 on Friday night.
Duncan also had 11 rebounds for San Antonio (55-17), which won its seventh straight at home. Tony Parker added 24 points and eight assists and Tiago Splitter had 14 points...
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 100-99 win over Denver on Wednesday night when Nuggets veteran guard Andre Miller missed a short jumper at the buzzer.
Danny Green added 20 points and Tony Parker had 18 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who remained 1 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the race for the top spot...
On this week's episode of the Spurscast, Trevor Zickgraf (@yowhatupt) and I are joined by Project Spurs' newest member, Jesse Blanchard (@BlanchardJRB).
We talk about the San Antonio Spurs potentially seeing their Texas rival Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. With the way the Mavs have been playing, is that a matchup Spurs fans should hope they avoid...
The lawsuit filed by a fan seeking unidentified damages from the San Antonio Spurs for sending home starters Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green prior to November’s nationally televised game against the Heat has been voluntarily dismissed.
According to The Miami Herald:
A notice recently filed by attorney Larry McGuinness in Miami-Dade Circuit Court says all...
The San Antonio Spurs pulled out a win last night against the Denver Nuggets with a late showing of defense on the last play.
It was a much needed win with the next few opponents coming up.
While some may view the schedule as unfair, the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich view it in a different way. In fact, their view of it is pretty positive.
"The schedule that...