You can’t picture the San Antonio Spurs without Tim Duncan, the 36-year-old forward/center who has been their staple since 1997. Duncan continues to be a valuable commodity for the franchise. This season the Spurs saw the face of their franchise return to form.
Despite his age and where he is in his career, Duncan had an impressive season. He averaged 17.8 points and 9.9 rebounds in 69 games, shot 50.2 percent from the field, and his free-throw percentage was the highest of his career at 81.7 percent. Duncan also finished third in blocks, averaging 2.7 a game.
Where does this season rank among Duncan’s career? Surprisingly, it’s not even close to where he used to be.
The Recent Decline
Duncan has been on the decline for the past three years. The 2010-11 campaign saw him score 13.4 points and grabbing 8.9 rebounds in 76 games. Those are the lowest averages in his career. In last year’s shortened season Duncan scored only 15.4 points per game while grabbing nine rebounds. If anything, this year stats showed the Tim Duncan we’re used to seeing: energetic and competitive.
In 2001-02, Duncan scored 25.5 points per game the highest total in points for him in a season. His highest total in rebounds came the following season (2002-03), averaging 12.9 a game. His highest percentage in field goals came in 2006-07, shooting 54.6 percent. Duncan scoring a catalytic 20 points a game, which eventually helped lead the Spurs to win their fourth NBA championship.
The perennial All-Star on average scored at least 20 points a game in his first eight seasons and at least 10 rebounds in 13 straight seasons. However, his decline didn’t start with age. Switching positions from power forward to center played a factor as well.
Duncan’s last year as a power forward for the Spurs was in 2005-06, scoring 18.6 and grabbing 11 rebounds a game. The switch to center saw Duncan’s level of production wane. He stopped scoring 20 points a game and stopped grabbing ten rebounds a game.
Where does this past season rank in Tim Duncan’s career? It’s not his best year. However, Duncan showed the NBA he still has some juice left in the tank.