NBA

Tim Duncan.

Tim Duncan: The man who epitomises the San Antonio philosophy

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The San Antonio Spurs are often dubbed the perfect franchise in the NBA. The level of consistency shown by the Texas-based organisation in the past 20 years is unrivalled and has been built around two men.

Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan are the Spurs. They have been through all the ups and very few downs since the forward was selected as the first pick in the 1997 draft. 

At 37 years of age, Duncan has seen it all; five NBA Championships, three Finals MVPs, two regular-season MVPs and 15 All-Star selections are just the tip of the iceberg for the nailed on Hall of Fame inductee. 

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He has a player option on his current deal that could see him extend his stay in the league for one more season, but with the Spurs targeting a sixth ring, it could be the perfect way for Duncan to go out. 

Father time comes in every player's career and, looking at the stats, it would seem it has finally arrived for the veteran. However, that could not be further from the truth. 

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Yes, Duncan may be averaging fewer minutes than ever before and yes, his production in those minutes is at a level he has never experienced in his illustrious career, but his presence has never been so important to the organisation. 

The baton is being passed at the AT&T Center. The old guard of Duncan, Tony Paker and Manu Ginobili are slowly but surely being replaced by the younger pairing of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. 

San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns

However, the changing of the guard is far from the end for Duncan. It was a new experience for the 1385-game vet against the Golden State Warriors. 

In a game that was dubbed the biggest of the season as the two dominant forces of the 2015-16 season faced off, the Spurs' dominant force over the past 18 seasons found himself on the bench for just the third time in his career. 

It was a chance for the new generation to stamp their authority on the organisation, and they did that in some style - blowing away the Warriors in style to preserve their home record.

It was a move that epitomised everything that has made Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs great, putting the team first and doing whatever is asked of him in the moment. 

If the franchise are to get their hands on the Larry O'Brien trophy once again, they will need the experience of the elder statesmen, and Duncan more than most. 

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five

Leonard has experienced the glory of success, claiming the Finals MVP award in 2014, but for Aldridge - given the Spurs make it to Finals - it will be his first taste of the big time. 

Duncan will be back in the starting five for the playoffs and his experience will carry his teammates through the tough moments. But looking forward we could see more appearances off the bench.

A sixth title would be the perfect way for him to go out, and it would come as no surprise to see him reveal his retirement after the season ends. However, with that player option, one more year of coach Pop and Duncan could be an enticing prospect.

Topics:
NBA
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Tim Duncan
Tony Parker

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