The End of an Era
With or without retired star Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs will contend for a championship this year. Their organization has been excellent from top to bottom for two decades and this year will be no different. Come season’s end, we’ll be weighing their chances against the loaded Warriors for a chance at yet another title. it’s like sunrise after sunset — it’s just gonna happen.
But without the steady presence of Tim Duncan, it’s a sad time in San Antonio. The Big Fundamental will be missed. Duncan was a throwback player, a humble star who did nothing but work hard and win. He was an inspiration to teammates and fans alike, and even a franchise as great as the Spurs will feel the effects of his retirement.
The Cupboard Remains Full
No one is going to feel sorry for the Spurs though. Their roster is as loaded as ever and they still have mastermind Gregg Popovich sourly roaming the sidelines. Even in the twilight of their careers, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli still have plenty left in the tank to contribute. And the Spurs have probably the best two way player in the game in quiet star Kawhi Leonard.
The Spurs aren’t lacking big men either. LaMarcus Aldridge is likely to increase his numbers in Duncan’s absence, and new acquisition Pau Gasol is still good for a nightly 14 points and 8 boards. There will be no dearth of scoring in San Antonio this year.
In terms of on court production, Duncan’s absence will be felt most on the defensive end. Neither Aldridge nor Gasol is the interior defender that Duncan was. The Spurs should be able to compensate for this however, especially in today’s perimeter focused NBA. Leonard is an incredible on the ball defender and the Spurs always play great team defense.
The real loss is in leadership and grace. The Spurs will miss Duncan’s never changing demeanor, both on the court and in practice. But the real loss belongs to us, the fans.