After nearly two decades in the NBA, all spent with the San Antonio Spurs, power forward Tim Duncan has decided to retire according to an announcement from the franchise.
No lengthy retirement tour, no major ceremonies, and this approach fits Duncan’s personality and career perfectly. After playing four seasons at Wake Forest the native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands was made the top overall pick by the Spurs in the 1997 NBA Draft. Monday Duncan retired as one of the greatest players in NBA history, and arguably the greatest power forward to ever play the game.
Duncan helped lead the Spurs to the playoffs in each of his 19 seasons in the NBA, and he’s the only player in NBA history to win a championship in three different decades. The Spurs won NBA titles in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014, with the franchise smoothly transitioning from David Robinson to Duncan as its on-court leader.
Duncan amassed plenty of individual honors as well, earning 15 All-Star Game appearances, two Most Valuable Player awards, three NBA Finals MVP awards and 15 NBA All-Defensive Team selections. He retires as San Antonio’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, minutes and games played, and is also third on the franchise’s all-time list in assists. For his career Duncan averaged 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest, and he was efficient in posting his numbers.
Armed with a variety of offensive moves, Duncan shot 50.6 percent from the field for his career and failed to make at least 49 percent of his shots in just two of his 19 NBA seasons.
Duncan averaged 8.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in his final NBA season, with the points and rebounds representing low points for his career, but he still ranked second in the NBA in individual defensive rating behind Miami’s Hassan Whiteside. Now, even with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili returning, the torch gets passed in San Antonio. And as was the case when Robinson retired, it’s something that Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford have prepared the franchise for with recent moves.
Kawhi Leonard, acquired in a draft night trade with the Indiana Pacers in 2011, has evolved into one of the top two-way players in the NBA and last summer the Spurs landed power forward LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency. Things will be a lot different next season with Duncan no longer on the floor, but San Antonio is well-positioned to remain a contender in the Western Conference.