Though the San Antonio Spurs lost to the Memphis Grizzlies yesterday, Spurs’ Tim Duncan reminded everyone he still has some gas left in the tank as he put up 16 points, 13 rebounds, and recorded two blocks in 36 minutes of action.
But having solid games in the postseason year after year is nothing new for Duncan. Posting a double-double is what he does. However, with a possible NBA lockout looming, fans must savor every moment Duncan is on the court as his illustrious NBA career is nearing the end.
One does not have to be a Spurs fan to appreciate what he has done in his prolific NBA career. Humble, never in the news for off-the-court incidents, willingness to defer to teammates as he did this season, and has an NBA resume that all but guarantees his ticket to the Basketball Hall of Fame once his career is over.
Recently, Dallas Mavericks’ Brendan Haywood, Dirk Nowitzki and New Orleans Hornets’ Carl Landry and Chris Paul shared their thoughts on Duncan which echos what many feel when it comes to the Big Fundamental.
“Tim’s been a great ambassador of the sport,” Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood said. “In my mind he’s the greatest power forward of all time. He has the numbers, the rings, the MVPs, the All-Star games, the hardware.”
“Everybody slows down a little bit, but he’s a skilled guy,” Haywood said. “His game was never based on jumping above guys and doing 360 dunks.
“And even though he’s slowing down a little bit he’s still better than most. I still think he has several years left, and when he walks away the game’s definitely going to miss him.”
“He’s got to be No. 1, and if not he’s right there with No. 1,” Mavs power forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “He has the rings to back it up, the stats, and he’s an amazing player.
“What’s made him tough is he has the whole package down there. He’s very bottom-heavy, so it’s hard to keep him out of the lane.”
“He plays with both hands, he had the little face-up bank shot, he can finish in the air, so there’s nothing really he couldn’t do,” Nowitzki said. “And he was one of the best defenders around the hoop from the power forward position.
“The numbers have been going down, but I think that’s more a credit to the other guys — [Manu] Ginobili and [Tony] Parker and all these guys shooting the ball around him — running a lot of screen-and-rolls. I guess he deferred more to the other guys, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still get big numbers.”
“He probably is at the tail end of his career, but just his presence in being out there is priceless,” New Orleans Hornets power forward Carl Landry said. “What he can do as far as rebounding, passing, you have to respect that.
“Some nights he might draw a double team, some nights he might not. But just his presence is something that his team needs, and that’s why they’re No. 1 in the Western Conference right now.”
“He’s the greatest power forward of all time,” Paul said. “He went to a great college before he got to the NBA in Wake Forest University, and he’s somebody who’s been a mentor to me, and somebody I’ve always looked up to.
So as the Spurs face the Grizzlies in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, soak in every moment Duncan is on the court wearing the black and silver jersey. If indeed there is an NBA lockout next season, this could be Duncan’s last run in the playoffs.