Tim Duncan, otherwise known as The Big Fundamental, has joined the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach. Duncan has remained close to his former team since his retirement, and the move makes as much sense as anything else in the universe.
Duncan is one of the 10 best players in NBA history. The five time NBA champion, two season MVPs, 15 All-Star appearances and 15 All-NBA selections, Duncan cemented his place in NBA history with his multiple playoff heroics.
The culture of the Spurs hasn’t been the same since Duncan’s retirement after the 2015-2016. Even though they’ve maintained playoff relevance, the overall vibe of the organization has changed significantly since his departure.
Kawhi Leonard was seen as a seamless transition from Duncan, given his quiet nature. But even Leonard was an enigma with different intentions. Now with the cloud of Leonard’s departure, many people around the league have begun to question the true nature of the Spurs organization. Many have speculated that Duncan was what kept everything together within the team.
The timing is perfect. Duncan can step into a role where he can mentor players about basketball and culture. Re-establishing Spurs basketball and a sense of teamwork can equate to success again. Especially with LaMarcus Aldridge entering the twilight of his career, Duncan can teach him how to elongate his career and strengthen his weaknesses on the court.
Head coach Gregg Popovich enjoyed poking fun at the situation. “It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor”, said Popovich.
The pairing of Duncan and Popovich is a return to form for the Spurs. Not only will the organization bring more basketball IQ and leadership into the facility every day, but fun will be replanted as well. Hopefully Duncan can teach the players how to not get kicked out of a game for laughing on the bench.