The San Antonio Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. However, one of the game’s greatest players would not go out without a fight. Tim Duncan turned 39 on April 25th, but he continues to play like someone in their early 30s. In the loss against the Clippers, Duncan was the Spurs best player when he scored 27 points. Did Tim Duncan’s four-year commitment at The University of Wake Forest benefit him in the long run? These are the days of the “one and done” era in college basketball.
High school players are in such a rush to make some easy cash in the NBA these days. Future Hall of Famers such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett skip college as well, but they are of a different breed. Numerous high school players only attend college for one year because they must comply to the “one and done” rule. Tim Duncan stayed at Wake Forest to develop his skills as a basketball player that resulted in a longer and productive career in the NBA.
Duncan had numerous opportunities to leave San Antonio and possibly join forces with other superstars. When those rumors would begin to swirl Duncan would resign with the Spurs once again. He had faith in the Spurs front office that they would build a legitimate contender around him. As a result of Duncan’s patience, the Spurs delivered five championship rings to the Spurs organization. The Spurs could have had a sixth ring, but Ray Allen had something to say about that.
Tim Duncan is indeed the last of a fallen breed in the National Basketball Association. It has been a long time since we have seen a player that has spent their entire four years in college and dominated the NBA like Duncan has. In today’s NBA if a player decides to stay at least three years in college their draft stock could fall. That’s pretty harsh for a player that decides to stay in college and improve his game for the future. It is almost like you are being punished for staying in school.
I find it very disturbing that NBA owners are putting stock into unproven high school players then polished four-year starters in college. When Tim Duncan decided to stay his entire four years at Wake Forest, owners were more focused on enhancing their product for the long run. Nowadays they are after the quick fix by assembling a cast of the best superstars in the league to win a championship. From what we have seen so far you need more than three stars to earn a championship.
However, teams are still trying to put together their version of the “Big Three” that is somewhat similar to the Miami Heat’s version. Somebody needs to tell NBA general managers that they cannot turn this into a “copycat league” like the NFL. Tim Duncan is the model of consistency for the NBA. However, it did not come automatically. He remained humbled and showed the real determination of a champion.
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