Seriously, the Spurs slayed this summer. Their haul from the free-agent fishing pond included superstars and door-busting discounts. But Tim Duncan is the league’s only player who checks off both boxes.
The 39-year-old was an All-Star, All-NBA third-teamer and All-Defensive second-team selection last season. And anyone who thinks those honors represented lifetime achievement awards needs to stop using raw per-game marks to assess value.
Duncan was a beast in 2014-15, even with his playing time sliced to the third-lowest level of his 18-year career. He tallied those above marks in only 28.9 minutes per night. Extrapolated to a per-36-minute scale, his production jumped to 17.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.4 blocks.
All-encompassing stat categories continued to paint him as one of the league’s elites. His 5.20 real plus-minus ranked 13th overall, perESPN.com. Basketball-Reference.com placed Duncan 12th in PER, ninth in box plus-minus (5.5) and 14th in total win shares (9.6).
That is the caliber of player Duncan still is. And he’ll play next season for the budget rate of $5.25 million.
“In reality, if Duncan had actually entered the open market this summer, there is no doubt he would have been offered a four-year max contract worth close to $94 million, or $23.4 million per year,” wrote Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post.
For everything Duncan has accomplished in his legendary career, his selflessness might be the most impressive part of that story.
Got the drop at Bleacher Report . . .