Duncan Having Season For The Ageless






SAN ANTONIO -
- So after all the flap, the fine and the folderol, Gregg Popovich was asked if he would consider a simultaneous resting of the Hall of Fame wing of his roster again.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” he replied.

Too bad, because then he might be able to gaze into the future and give us a peek at Tim Duncan still tearing it up in the 2022-23 season against LeBron James Jr. or Michael Jordan III.

Is there a reason to think that The Big Fundamental at 46 won’t still be teaching the ABCs of the front court game he’s drilling into the heads of NBA’s current class at 36?

Ask Marc Gasol.

“He’s a handful,” said the Grizzlies center after getting posterized by Duncan in the first quarter Saturday night. “He knows how to adjust his game to himself and his team knows how to bring it to him in the right spots.”

When Duncan got the ball on the left block, wheeled and threw down a monster one-handed slam midway through the first quarter, that spot was smack in the middle of Gasol’s forehead. It was a stunning display of quickness and power that brought an uncharacteristic yelp from Duncan and transported most of those inside the AT&T back nearly a decade.

“That was MVP Timmy,” said point guard Tony Parker. “Every single time we threw it to him, and every single time he scored.”

Parker was talking about the 21-point first half by Duncan on Saturday night, but could have been referring to any time in the first month of the season.

Just 18 months after he looked like a tired old man shouting at the kids to keep off the grass in a playoff loss to Memphis, Duncan has become healed, hearty and turned into the basketball version of Methuselah.

Here’s how his start stacks up to the seasons of former NBA greats at the same age:

Duncan, 2012-13 — 18.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 53.7 FG%.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1983-84 — 21.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg., 57.8 FG%.

Karl Malone, 1999-2000 — 25.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 50.9 FG%.

Robert Parish, 1989-90 — 15.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 58 FG%.

Wilt Chamberlain, 1972-73 — 13.2 ppg., 18.6 rpg.,72.7 FG%.

Larry Bird, 1992-93 — first year retired.

Bill Russell, 1970-71 — retired two years.

It is stunning to compare edition of Duncan that looked like the faded yellow pages of an old newspaper in that playoff wipeout in Memphis two seasons ago to the slick, online e-zine Timmy who is the wireless hotspot in the middle of the Spurs lineup today.

Pop always says its just about the way Duncan takes care of himself, carefully watches everything he puts into his body.

Duncan lost weight two summers ago, worked on his flexibility and has come back now with a vengeance. When his string of 13 consecutive All-Star Games appearances ended last season, Duncan didn’t get mad. He just got rejuvenated and got better.

Is there any other single reason to explain the league changing the All-Star ballot this season from selecting forwards, centers and guards to just frontcourt and backcourt than finding a way to accommodate him? If the fans don’t vote him in this season, will the coaches of the Western Conference be foolish enough to leave him off the roster again?

Of course, the only thing that really matters to Duncan is getting the Spurs back to their usual 50-plus wins and another crack at the playoffs and that fifth championship.

Two years ago, Duncan and the Spurs were supposedly on the downward path and the Grizzlies a young team on the rise. A season ago, Duncan and the Spurs held a 2-0 lead on Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals and lost the series to the other ascendant power.

Now the Thunder are learning about life without James Harden and the Grizzlies are learning that you still can’t walk into San Antonio and expect to see anything but an ageless Duncan.

The Spurs are a factor in the West because he is. We don’t need a crystal ball to see that.

79 Comments

  1. Thomas L. Chin says:

    December 4, 2012

    Tim Duncan does not have the shooting accuracy of Norwitzki or Elgin Baylor or Larry Bird
    or Elvin Hayes. He has 4 NBA Championships, but failed miserably in the Athens Olympics
    in 2004. I think that he should consider retiring immediately and make way for more
    younger, promising stars instead of dragging on for whatever reasons he may have.

  2. cruzero says:

    most probably the most humble player in the NBA, does not taunt, does not brag, but a champion. and a true franchise player, but i got a feeling that he will not win any more rings. age will be a factor, even though he plays like in his 20s. but with some good bigmen now, he will have his hands full.

  3. Joseph says:

    Tim Duncan is a good swimmer too. He must have strong lungs which attributes to his endurance and strength.

  4. dirkules says:

    hands down…dirk norwitzki is best PF of all time

  5. wootz says:

    LOL, those people who are saying that wilt or kareem are the greatest player of all time, definitely dont know a thing about basketball.. they probably got that idea from the stories their dads of granddads told them..

    The only reason those two scored/rebounded that much is because back then there was no 3 second violation.
    the only thing that big guys would have to do was to stand under the basket and wait for the ball..

  6. cord says:

    got to give wilt his props where they are deserved yes that was like one of his worst scoring years but look at his rebounding and FG% and i know someone is going to be like well he was the biggest and most gifted player in the league but not at that age he wasent russel was around already and a few other greats as well by this time all Hail MR 100 wilt the stilt

  7. TS says:

    Duncan is playing too good for an old guy.

    The NBA should fine him.

  8. dumb much says:

    HELOOOOOOO there is no greatest player of all time. think about it . MAGIC , LARRY , WILT CHAMBERLAIN , KAREEM for me they are all tied at first easily. magic and bird greatest rivalry of all time by far and look at their stats. wilt ive never seen him play but Oh My God , he average 50 points and like 30 rebounds in a season…… Kareem just an all rounder amazing.

    • D WAR says:

      DUNCAN IS NOT A BALL-HAWK THAT’S WHY HIS SCORING IS NOT UP THERE HE’S MORE OF A TEAM PLAYER THAT WILL DO WHAT IS REQUIRED TO SCORE AND WIN GAMES AS A TEAM AS OPPOSE TO GETTING HIS STATS UP.

  9. sikis says:

    it would be better if you also compared the minutes per game each player played…

  10. javajim says:

    Duncan has always done one thing that the so called “greats” of the post 2000 basketball failed to do in the fact that he plays with his head first. you won’t always have the same advantages over everyone but he knows how to adjust to the ones he does. I think everyone in basketball could learn from him, even kobe and king james.

  11. Julien says:

    On what planet is Malone a better player than Duncan? A better scorer, maybe. But Duncan is overall a better player than Karl.

  12. Sam says:

    Duncan is 1 0f the best at his position hands down

  13. Grimey says:

    Its spelled Marc Gasol.

  14. me says:

    I’ll miss Timmy, when he retires. Only two guys, I will consider my basketball heroes, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan, both competetive, both unselfish, both fun to watch (those who consider TD is boring don’t know a thing about basketball, maybe entertainment), and both winners.

  15. joe says:

    I don’t get why 36 is considered old in the nba. iIts not really old in real life, and time after time again we see people 36 and older playing great in the nba. I’m just not impressed anymore by 36 year olds playing great; regardless of the age, great players play great

  16. Mills says:

    This article makes a good comparison of statistics, however the very important stat that is missing is the average minutes per game between each player. We all know Pop is the most conservative coach in the leauge with managing vets minutes. Was Duncan playing 5 or 10 minutes less each game, which would naturally account for some of the points and rebounds. It also may have been that those coaches were simply asking for a higher volume of shots based on team need and Duncans team need isn’t that way.

  17. Dew says:

    Timmah!!!

  18. LOL says:

    so that means there’s a possibility that Lebron could be playing against his son, Lebron James Jr. LOL.

  19. miamifan says:

    he will get traded to the heat next year for juwon howard and norris cole. apparently its set to go ahead. miami will be champs for sure!!!

  20. ko0kie says:

    I haven’t like his unspectacular style of play and his unemotional character but you got to respect his legacy.. one of the greatest front court players of all time.. he’s been great from day one as a rookie till now.. incredible.

  21. Melvin says:

    Every new or old basketball player should learn from Tim, he is the fundamental model.
    Age can’t slow down fundamental skill set!!

  22. mu says:

    @banks wilt was 7’1 like shaq both dominated the game. wilt went up against kareem 7’2 bill russell 6’11 george mikan 6’11 so what you mean he was 6 inches taller than every one. shaq faced yao ming patrick ewing and more

  23. jon says:

    “It is stunning to compare edition of Duncan that looked like the faded yellow pages of an old newspaper in that playoff wipeout in Memphis two seasons ago to the slick, online e-zine Timmy who is the wireless hotspot in the middle of the Spurs lineup today.”

    what

  24. Dinga says:

    Wilt is clearly the greatest player of all time statiscally wise. And no height isnt a factor, im sure kareem was taller then him. Kareem was consistant, but i could never see him averaging 50 points a game in one season.

  25. Kurt says:

    He is not the best power forward of all time not even close he has played in the softer era of basketball. Plus he carries a box of kleenex inside his uniform with all the crying he does. He would not be able to handle the physical styler of play from the 70’s and early 80’s they would have broke him down easily.

    • ella says:

      life seems quite bitter on your side of the fence… hollering from dallas, by any chance?!?!

      related to cuban?!?!

  26. Marckel says:

    @FRAN BLINEBURY
    I don’t usually find anything amusing in your article, but this does it for me:
    ” Duncan has become healed, hearty and turned into the basketball version of Methuselah.”

    Well done sir!

  27. grm says:

    Karl Malone is the greatest PF of all-time, much better than Duncan…

  28. KB24 says:

    i doubt duncan will play til that long, he will be threw an a few years from now, because thats when we will see how he will start decreasing a lot..

  29. Jackal says:

    As of right now, Duncan deserves spots on both the All NBA 2nd Team and All NBA 1st Defensive team imo. The only reason he doesn’t make the All NBA first team is because it’s listed by “forwards”, not “one PF and one SF”, so LeBron and Durant will both be on the first team.

    Duncan is also a DPOY candidate imo. Leads the league in defensive rating, and has locked down multiple legit low post guys this season. He completely destroyed Cousins earlier in the year, where two of his only 3 baskets against Duncan were charges that the refs didn’t call (even the Kings announcers said that). Duncan blocked him like 7 times, but didn’t get credit for them all because he was rejecting him before the ball left his hands on some of his shots. That’s how badly Duncan was kicking his behind.

  30. Paul says:

    “Ask Mark Gasol”

    No one knows his name is Marc?

  31. Dieter says:

    It would be great to see 2 of the 3 greatest power forwards of all time against eachother in the finals at age 37. Go Celtics, Go Spurs ! And Duncan and Garnett are too good to play in the All-Star game. Who does even care about a game with the greatest players at the moment when they don’t play defence.

    I would love to see an All Star game with Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen, Serge Ibaka, Iggy, Andre Miller, Wesley Matthews, Varejao, MKG, Granger, Bradley, Rondo, Battier, Deng, … but that’s not gonna happen. We’re stuck with an event that’s all about dunking and idiotic behaviour. In all fairness, not the fault of the players, especially not the fault of Carmelo and Amare who can’t play defence, so u could say they always play at their best level in the All-Star game.

  32. ravin1111 says:

    tim duncan greatist power foward of alltime

  33. Karlo Garcia says:

    If Duncan can still have those stats then he should play till 46. The greatest PF/C in the game.

    • TDindaPaint says:

      no he is already the greatest PF/C of all time if he has those stats at 46? im srry jordan but GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME

      • Red says:

        wow! timmy is great but let us wait and see him at age 40 when jordan average 20pts and 6rebs per game at that age…mj still and forever will be GOAT.

  34. Belize says:

    I’ve never seen Ducan display that (if any) kind of emotion after dunking.

  35. jmndodge says:

    Great player – exceptional role model – family man. You go Tim, even those teams you have beaten for years are filled with people who wish you long career and much success.

  36. Kasper says:

    He traveled when making the dunk on Gasol. Why is traveling in the post never called?

  37. Demetrius says:

    i agree jordan is great but kareem is greater there was players at sg position who just werent really the main thing you had a bunch of great pgs in jordans time but not really any sgs except for miller who was a shooter and also drexler who played in another conference kareem played adgainst chamberlain ,rusell, lambieer ,parish , and sampson,walton, and oluijawon what a list of hall of fame centers not only did kareem compete with those players he abused them

  38. Koubes24 says:

    Basketball is not only about muscles and strenght.. Timmy has it, but he has something more.. Excellent basketball IG, Enough said

  39. Timmy is simply amazing – not sure who is individually better him or Malone but given the 4 championships I would go for Timmy. The greatest power forward of all time!

  40. toblet says:

    The level of the League is way better than before, and Duncan still manage to have those stats.

    Incredible.

    And he also shoot from longer distance than the other guys he is compared to.

    Duncan is simply, not human !

  41. toblet says:

    Duncan, is at the same level than Kareem et Karl.

    Because today, the level of the League is better, and he still manage to have those stats.

    And if he is “only” shooting 53% it’s also because he can shot from longer distance.

    While Karl and Kareem where more athletic, and where less shooting from long and average distance.

    Duncan is just not Human.

  42. Jay says:

    it should be mention that kobe in one more season than duncan is having an even better year in his 17th nba season at 34 years old.

    • Kiss69123 says:

      Kobe??? cmon, he can’t shoot over 50 percent, he’s not a clutch shooter like MJ. He makes no players around him better. He’s just another flake for the books

      • Ddog says:

        kobe also started when he was 18, right out of HS. TD played 4 strong years at wake forest then drafted in NBA at 21/22. And………………. kobe was #2 on Lakers until 2005, when Shaq left.

      • Frank says:

        A flake with 5 championship rings. You are truly an idiot.

  43. Javier says:

    Good article. BUT, if someone care less of an all-star selection is Duncan. I remember past year Duncan was even happy off the stage. On the other hand, in previous all-star games he played very few minutes.

  44. Game Time says:

    This article would could have done without that nonsensical comment about Duncan playing till 46.

  45. Kamote says:

    The best power forward ever.

  46. jimbo says:

    36 years old and still schooling forwards on the blocks not too shabby timmy d. David stern’s fine against the spurs was complete horse explicit explicit, if popp feels his og’s need a rest that’s his decision not dumbo ears stern

  47. hes says:

    didnt he travel there ?

    • dattebayo says:

      Duncan might have traveled when he started his dribble, I am not sure. It would probably be called in Europe, but even though it’s a POE this year they don’t call it every time for some reason. The move itself was not a travel though. When Duncan picks the ball up after the dribble, he positions his right foot underneath the basket, establishes it as the pivot foot, then he spun around without shuffling his feet and dunked the ball. They don’t call him the Big Fundamental for nothing, that’s a legal move.

      When you then compare Duncan’s footwork to Dwight Howard’s, it’s like night and day. Howard plays with so much force, he often shuffles his feet to regain his balance, Duncan on the other hand uses pumpfakes and spins around his pivot foot instead of overpowering his opposition and he usually keeps his pivot foot planted. If you watched that DEN@LAL game you can see what I mean, Dwight Howard got away with 3 travels in one play under the basket, JVG even mentioned it.

    • yup says:

      He definitely slid his pivot foot over before going up for the dunk

    • Belizeb says:

      No, he didn’t.

      • William says:

        he did slide it a bit, but it goes so fast that its hard for a referee to see, and no referee wants to ruin a dunk like that, just like with BG’s offensive fouls

  48. mamba219 says:

    Those Kareem Abdul-Jabbar/Karl Malone statlines are pretty incredible. 58% FG? At 36? And a Finals MVP the next year? Kareem is pretty great.

    • two says:

      well kareem is the greatest of all time so it’s not all that strange

      • Ginobili says:

        That’s a bit of a reach. Greatest scorer of all time perhaps. That’s it. And even that title I’m not sure. Maybe Mr. Longevity. Because Walton would shut that man down.

      • hello...MJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

        JORDAN IS THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME. COME ON…

      • bigwes95 says:

        about time someone else recognizes kareem’s greatness. he is probably the greatest of all time.

      • Kiss69123 says:

        I’m not old enough to remember Kareem, and one of the people commented about Kobe, so he is obviously not old enough either. The greatest of all-time can’t be established due to the changing of times. The greatest though win championships, and Bill Russell has everyone beat. Kareem had a cast, Jordan had no-names that he made names of. We should all just agree to disagree because the generation gaps makes us prejudice.

    • Crazygirl992 says:

      what about wilt? 18 rebounds a game, 72% from the feild? thats insane!

      • Banks says:

        he was 6 inches taller than everybody lol

      • bigwes95 says:

        @banks. yao ming was 6 inches taller than everyone, but he wasn’t grabbing 18 rpg, or shooting 72%, and with wilt in his best year he averaged 50 ppg and i think 27 rpg, something yao could only dream of. so your argument doens’t make any sense here. wilt also has a claim for greatest of all time.

      • manny says:

        i am sorry bigwes95 but yao is a very small sample of much taller players to be compared with wilt but i know that D. howard , kevin love Verajao and may others if they were 6 inches taller they would be rebound monsters.
        when people compair players of different times they forget that basketball market was very small back then and most giants would had gone in the direction of football not basketball. The truth hurt but it has to be said most athletiic tall black male had very little chance of making to the NBA.

      • Wilt was the best ever once he had the ball in his hands within 8 feet of the basket, and one of the best when he was guarding the low post, but mediocre at best during the other 60-80% of the time he was on the floor. That’s why Russel’s teams won all those championships and Wilt’s teams frequently didn’t even make it to their conference finals. It wasn’t until Bill Russel’s body started to give out that Wilt was able to win a championship. And to tell you the truth Wilt actually became a better player when HIS body started to give out and he started learning what to do ALL the time he was on the floor.

    • ravin1111 says:

      TIM DUNCAN GREATEST POWER FOWARD OF ALLTIME he does not buy his rings he earn them not like the lakers(dwight howard;stensah)

      • William says:

        They drafted Bynum and traded for Kobe, Gasol, MWP and drafted fisher.. wich was the starting lineup they won Championsships with.. so no lakers dont buy rings.
        and Dwight was another trade, lakers are just great at trading

      • radamus says:

        Lakers payroll is more than $10,000,000 per year higher than the next closest. I love Duncan as a player, Popovich as a coach, and San Antonio as a team. They do more with less than practically any team in sports. Also, some of the players listed by William as drafted or traded for were in effect actually bought from teams that couldn’t afford them and were afraid they would get nothing for them at all if they didn’t take the big money from the Lakers.