San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan hiring comes at perfect time

By Andrew Ites
SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 2: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs talk during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 2, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photos by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 2: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs talk during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 2, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photos by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images)
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While the San Antonio Spurs recently shook up their organization by hiring a new general manager and shifting R.C. Buford to a new role, they get a blast from the past by hiring Tim Duncan as an assistant coach.

The San Antonio Spurs have never been quite the same since Tim Duncan decided to retire from his playing career after the 2015-16 season.

The team has continued to make the playoffs each year as they have for the past 20+ seasons, but their championship aspirations haven’t returned to that level over the past couple of years.

It’s been no secret that Duncan has continued to work with the Spurs in a mentoring role as he still has a locker in San Antonio’s facility.

But that role will be expanded as he is now officially a member of the Spurs’ coaching staff.

This means Timmy will permanently be on the bench for home and away games, which will allow him to impact the squad much more than he did in the practice gym.

The two most important characteristics that The Big Fundamental brought to the floor during his playing career was his high basketball IQ and his unmatched leadership ability, which should carry over into his coaching career.

At the very least, Duncan knows how to win better than any other player in league history and he should be able to provide that perspective right away.

Gregg Popovich is obviously ecstatic to be reunited with Duncan by adding his favorite player to his coaching staff:

“It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor.”

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San Antonio also announced the official addition of Will Hardy as an assistant coach, and we profiled him earlier this offseason when the news was first reported.

Spurs fans didn’t know what to expect from the beloved Duncan after he hung up the jersey for the final time.

It wouldn’t have been surprising for him to get as far away from basketball as possible, become a hermit, and work on remodeling old cars for the rest of his life. Fortunately for us, Duncan’s love for basketball and the Spurs is burning so much inside him that he wants to get back on the bench again in a coaching capacity.

This addition comes at the perfect time for San Antonio as their front office and coaching staff were both in a state of flux this summer.

The Spurs’ front office will be run by someone other than R.C. Buford for the first time in 15+ years this season as Brian Wright will jump from the assistant GM position to the general manager job. And Popovich’s coaching staff took two enormous blows as Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina both took jobs elsewhere this offseason.

The return of Timmy D brings some much-needed stability to an organization that is undergoing some major change for the first time in nearly two decades.

It’s way too early to know if this is a real possibility, but Gregg Popovich is only under contract for three more years and it’s worth wondering if Duncan would want to jump into the head coaching role once Pop retires.

Tim will probably treat the next couple of years as a trial period to see whether he likes this whole coaching thing, but it’s encouraging to see that he’s interested in coaching at this high of a level.

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Three ways that LaMarcus Aldridge emulates Tim Duncan. Next

Time will only tell what the future has in store for Tim, but he will certainly receive an endless round of applause the first time he takes the bench as an assistant coach.

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