Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 10:40 am  |  39 responses

Tim Duncan Not Ready to Walk Away from the Game

by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

For a number of years now, people have continually predicted that the Tim Duncan-led San Antonio Spurs were on their last legs. Time and again, those people have been wrong.

As the Spurs continue to defy age and overcome major roster changes each season, racking up wins in dominant fashion, Tim Duncan feels as though he has plenty of gas left in his basketball tank.

The 36-year old Duncan isn’t ready to walk away from the game anytime soon.

From Yahoo! Sports:

Duncan is making $21.1 million in the final year of his contract and is expected to either re-sign with the only franchise he’s known or retire after this season. Family might be the ultimate tug that gets Duncan out of the NBA. The 35-year-old says at “some point” not wanting to be away from his two children for long periods will be a big factor in when he walks away. As for actual retirement plans … “I don’t really worry about that part of it,” Duncan said.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said Duncan has aided his longevity with daily knee maintenance that includes wearing a brace off the floor. “I thought I prepared well and was in great shape coming in,” Duncan said. “I’ve felt good throughout.” The younger Spurs on the team are helping keep Duncan’s mind fresh. San Antonio has nine players with a maximum of two seasons of experience, including three rookies. “It’s fun having a bunch of new guys, seeing them interact,” Duncan said. “You feel like the old guy sometimes. But I got some old heads with me, too, so it’s good.”

Now in the 15th year of his Hall of Fame career, Duncan and the Spurs seem to have embraced their old age, often poking fun at themselves about it, and it clearly hasn’t slowed them down.

Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker and the rest of the Spurs may dread the day Tim Duncan eventually decides to call it quits, but that prospect seems a long way away. For now, the biggest worry is whether or not they can win another NBA title together.

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  • RickyRude

    This is great to hear. Wish them all the best in years to come. Tim is a great guy, and I really believe that his slim body build – with no serious physical banging in the post every night – enabled him to stay healthy and fit for so long, and maintain his knees in great shape.

  • Heals

    Good the game isn’t ready for him to walk away either…

  • abaci

    Good, feel free to stay as along as you’d like Tim.

  • Mike Mihalow

    He’s having his best season in years. He doesn’t appear to be degrading in anyway. The Spurs would be smart to convince him to stay in a smaller role, and perhaps take less $ so they can get another big to sign.

  • Bt

    His per minute stats haven’t actually declined much from his prime, his stats are down only because his minutes are down. he also has the advantage of knowing he can he a spur for life and not having to play that extra awkward season at another franchise instead of just retiring Ewing/Olajuwon style

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    they can just reboot him right?

  • shutup

    One of the all-time greats. It doesn’t always work out that greatness makes others around them great but when it does it’s a beautiful thing. I don’t think anyone in recent years came into the league with such expectations (1st overall pick) and delivered in spades. Yes, Lebron came in with greater expectations but hasn’t delivered the ultimate team success, yet. Seeing as Anderson Silva might retire soon my two favorite sports icons from the past decade might hang it up soon, heres hoping they both go out on top.

  • logues

    i’d rather have timmy and kg on my team than chris bosh right now… so i dont know why ppl have bosh in their top 5 or even top 3 pf’s in the game

  • @Deknowz

    Bigs should have to train with Tim Duncan before the can be called “Power” forwards.

  • 23

    Duncan is a basketball God. And the epitome of hard work and patience. I can’t really think of a.post player right now who has the combination of post moves and jumpshot as Duncan. 15 years and he is still one of the most effective players in the league.

  • 23

    Something I just thought was interesting. Ray Allen has always been very healthy and has done an unbelievabley good job at preserving his body. He has as much athleticism as many young guns today. He also is very fundamentally sound like duncan. If Duncan was a sg his name would be Ray Allen, and if Allen was a pf he would be Duncan. So why is it that Duncan is one of the best ever(top 10 imo) and Ray Ray is not on that elite legendary status? Allen is clutch, mature, a great leader, unselfish, and very professional just like Duncan. The only main difference is Duncan was a very great defensive player. Allen is no slouch on defense, but never consistently on Duncans level. If Allen was drafted a spur, maybe his career/legacy would be even more impressive……..?? Just a thought.

  • logues

    23: i kinda like that ray-duncan comparison, but cmon duncan dominated the game for how many yrs and was an mvp, won 4 chips as the top dog on his team… ray was never really a dominating player

  • RedRum

    I have said it before, TD is probably the second best player in the history of the NBA, after MJ. Crazy, I know, but look at his numbers, clutch, leadership, and the fact that as with MJ he was the best two-way player in the league for a stretch of 10 years. Yes, there were post players who might have scored more than TD in the regular season (look at his playoff numbers, he is up there with the best). But no one played D and anchored the teams D better than Duncan. I am not just talking about playing 1o1 D, or help side (probably the best help defender ever) or blocks. I mean directing the whole defense while playing. I saw him play live 5 times and it was a sight to behold. It was like having a coach in the game, I have never seen anyone do it as well (no KG, no Dwight etc). Before you start calling me a looney for saying that he is the second best player ever, look at his accomplishments and go back see some tape of how well he played in his prime. If there is anything to it, Shaq, his arch rival only refers to him as “Mr Duncan”.

  • Drig

    @RedRum…………Shaq AND KG and for a small stretch, Yao, have a TON of things they would like to talk about with you. Especially about the being the best two-way player in the post for a stretch of 10 years part…….

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher


  • bike

    Possibly the greatest player of all time whose game was not emulated by kids. It is simply astonishing that today’s power forwards have none of the multitudes of TD moves that made him unstoppable. Todays PFs have incredible size, strength, and athletic ability but show me one that can hit that contested 15 foot bank shot.

  • logues

    pau gasol, zach randolph

  • Rainman

    Why should he? dude is still balling. and should open some eyes come playoff time because he is gonna be pretty fresh. Watch out, NBA. These guys are my sleeper team

  • Rainman

    @ Drig: Shaq was NEVER a great 2 way player, he got boards and blocks not because he necessarily tried on that end, but jsut because he was THAT GOOD, naturally. Theres NO excuse for ur career high averages in rebounds and blocks coming in ur ROOKIE SEASON, and u never eclipse those numbers again. He didnt work hard enough to be a great great 2 way plaer, especially on the level of a Tim Duncan, or a Kevin Garnett.

  • Heals

    @23, MVP’s and titles, but good POV. @logues I hear ya, especially KG. The past season and half I’ve believed if they were traded straight-up Mia is guaranteed the Chip. Not saying it’s set in stone, but just based off my appreciation for Ticket’s defensive emphasis and communication/team-building style…

  • logues

    Heals: couldnt agree more

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Greatest all-around player since MJ and Hakeem.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ I co-sign that.

  • RedRum

    @JTaylor Amen brother! Hakeem was the only other player I would put into the discussion. In my book is MJ, TD, Hakeem. Only Magic might be somewhere there although not a 2-way player his passing game was infectious, he made the whole team much better. Not much on D, but still Magic is the only one I might put ahead of TD. Bird comes after both TD and Hakeem. Certainly not a 2-way player by any means, his D was atrocious… @Drig: Shaq was never a 2-way player. His defense was below average. One could make a case for KG, but although loud and intense, he never had the leadership and clutch that TD had.

  • Matt Park

    Someone above talked about per-minute stats and I want to interject. It was implied that he was still playing at a level not too far from his prime and I think that is true. Duncan is avg. numbers close to his prime, but the thing is he is not able to play the same 40mins a game from before. Therefore, he has less of an impact that before on the overall game… To only say that his per/min stats are not too down is too simple.

    However, don’t take this the wrong way. I am not calling anyone out but just saying the obvious.

  • Drig

    @Rainman………saying he never fulfilled his potential on D is one thing. Sayine he wasn’t a great two way player is entirely different. His D in the POs is on par with anything Duncan did on the defensive end of the floor. During the regular season? You’ve got a point.

  • http://fkjlf.com Jukai

    RedRum: Bird was twice the defender Magic was, man…. learn yer history…

  • Bt

    ^^^ bird and magic were both terrible individual defenders. Sure they steals but that’s it. They’re lucky they had quality bigs behind them to protect them and fix their mistakes (same with tony Parker, unlike Steve Nash)

  • Justin G.

    Wow cosign Jukai. Bird and Magic, while not the best one on one defenders were great team defenders. @logues…You say you would take KG and TD over Bosh today so you don’t know how anyone else has Bosh in their top 5? What you’re saying is since YOU would do it your opinion is the only one that’s right? That’s awfully arrogant but in any case there aren’t a lot of people that would agree with you that’s for sure

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    @23 – Ray’s early career wasn’t very special. He wasn’t rookie of the year, he took four seasons to become an All-Star. He wasn’t as fundamentally skilled then as he is now, whereas Timmy entered the pro game close to perfect. Tim also won a ring and Finals MVP in his second year. Ray also played at what is probably the deepest time the NBA has ever had for wing players, whereas Tim entered the league on the decline of big men. In short – lots of good reasons Ray isn’t an all-time at his position and Timmy is and some of it can be based on luck, but not all of it.

  • tomtom

    @Bt i was thinking the same thing haha, people have such a romantic view of the old days it can be warped.

  • tomtom

    Love Timmy, even as an LA fan he is always my second favourite player in the L. If Lakers don’t win it this year i am rooting for Timmy, Pop and Manu.

  • Greg

    As a long time spurs fan based in north london, in my opinion, there have been 2 major playersL TD & shaq. KG is not even in the convo. KG hoots, hollers, screams, shouts, swears, blasphemes, homophobic slurs and is so “intense” then in crunch time figures out new to choke! Shaq calls Tim “my most worthy playoff foe” (or words to that effect). However, as much as I despise KG and his ability to throw cheap shots to players he knows wont retaliate (KG, why did you rabbit from dyess?)and choke, I do appreciate him letting down his fans time & time again! That way, I can sit back and appreciate the all time greatness that TD exudes with all that more warmth in my heart. Tim, you dont get the props from people that you deserve but rest assured everyone (coaches, GM’s, players, journalists, writers,) know the truth (no disrespect to PP). To say KG is a scrub would be unfair, you have to acknowledge his versatile defense, unselfishness, team first attitude, work ethic, (he’s ALWAYS in top shape) & leaping ability. On a final note, if you observe the way KG played Tim, you can see that he is intimidated & jealous as, internally, he to knows this to be the truth (that’s why he goes OTT whenever they square off). No problem, Timmy just splatters him, Shaq, Rasheed, Karl Malone, Webber and whoever else you want to name. Here’s a scary thought to all you TD haters…WHAT IF HE GETS A 5TH RING!!!!!?????

  • Drig

    @Greg………you seriously don’t think that Timmy is in another stratosphere from KG right??? Individually, KG is just as good as Duncan is in almost all respects. It’s the supporting casts and coaches that have made the difference.

  • 23

    @drig, duncan came into the league like a 10 year vet. garnett didnt dominate right away. we all knew garnett was gonna be special but it took some time and growing pains to develop. duncan on the other had was “pure greatness” from day 1(and thats no exagerration)

  • tomtom

    KG in his prime was equally good at Duncan. But it’s how long you can last at that level, Tim has been there for about 11 or 12 years of his career, KG maybe 3 or 4. Also Tim has always been clutch.

  • Rainman

    @ drigs: I disagree. Dont get me wrong, in the season, and any time really, overall for his respective career, Shaq has been a very GOOD defensive player, but never a GREAT GREAT one.Good based off of sheer talent alone may i add, not necessarily effort. In the playoffs, that was great TEAM defence, and Shaq did great in the concept of team D, and as a result his individual stats did show it, but really, in no way does he compare with a Duncan or a Garnett defensively. Remind me, how many all defensive teams has Shaq made in his career? 1st, 2nd, OR 3rd team?

  • RedRum

    @Jukai Bird was twice the defender Magic was??? I don’t think you will find any one ever saying anything like that… if anything Magic was a bit better in his prime as he could steal the ball better than Bird. They both did not play any defense at all, I am not sure what games you have seen and what stats you have to claim that Larry was twice the defender Magic was…

  • Greg

    Shaq was a timely defender, just like every other facet of his game. Translation: he coasted during the regular season then turned it on during the playoffs. KG/TD were exceptional defenders but shaq was underrated overall. The reasons TD is the greatest of his generation are multiple:
    He rose to the occasion unlike KG, it took him 10 years to realise “hey, maybe I DO need to take & make big shots”
    He had no problem stepping to the side, AI never would (neither would Kobe, thats why his admittedly staggering stats should be viewed very suspiciously)
    He was mentally tough unlike Vince
    He had a great off season work ethic unlike shaq
    Tim’s stats are not overwhelming, bill Walton was right on the money when he said that Sheed has more talent the Tim, but (stop me when you’ve heard this before) Tim always brought whereas the rest of his PF class were too busy thugging it out for SLAM covers. (It appears that Sheed resented playing for White folks but couldnt turn down the checks) From memory, Tim has had 2 SLAM covers when he HAS NOT won a championship, all the others were when he led us to the big one. Which is probably the ultimate respect as SLAM has always ridden KG’s jock and basically ignored TD. Once again, Im comforted by SLAM ranking Tim no 8 and KG 25 (?). To quote fat joe “Id rather have fear than love because the fear lasts longer…” KG is def more popular whilst Tim has less time to pose for SLAM covers as he has to polish his back regular season MVP’s, 3 final MVP’s and 4 rings.