After stepping in unexpectedly as an assistant coach to Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan could walk away once more.
The return of San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan to the team’s bench was an incredible sight for the sore eyes of this fanbase. Having someone with his legendary stature and incredible playing experience afford Spurs players a once-in-a-lifetime mentorship that’ll assuredly help them become better players in the long run.
However, Duncan’s return was always tempered with expectations that he wouldn’t stick around for long. This wasn’t a new endeavor or a dignified attempt at becoming a head coach, but rather a favor to his mentor, close friend and former head coach, Gregg Popovich. Duncan had already hung around Spurs training facilities from the time he retired to keep in shape, continue playing the game he loves and help pass the torch to the next generation of Spurs.
However, times have changed and the scenario is different from what it once was. Duncan didn’t enter the NBA bubble with the rest of his team, including the coaching staff, to oversee LaMarcus Aldridge’s rehab. Even with that being the case, it felt mostly like Duncan didn’t sign up for all that came with being an NBA coach or player this season.
Tim Duncan got his first win as a head coach after stepping in for Coach Pop with the Spurs ? pic.twitter.com/F3pyBk7CnD
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 4, 2020
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Being in a pandemic without much end in sight changes our priorities as people and right now. Duncan’s role as a father will always come before his role as a professional basketball coach and that may extend into next season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Duncan move on from the role, opting to focus on his family in these difficult times.
It’d be a respectable decision and San Antonio would certainly leave the door open for him to rejoin the team at a later date. However, it’d be poor timing as Duncan’s player development role is more crucial now than it’s ever been. With San Antonio in the midst of a retooling on the fly after missing the playoffs, they’ll pick their highest NBA Draft selection since Duncan himself. Having that wisdom around to guide the young players would pay off in dividends down the line.
My words have been misconstrued lately, so I want to make this clear: I have no idea whether Timmy’s coming back or not, but it’s a topic we should be thinking about. If he doesn’t return then Spurs fans will sorely miss seeing someone they hold near to their hearts on the sidelines of these games, but ultimately, the team will carry on and bring up their next rising star in the coaching ranks.
Or, this could all be for nothing and Duncan could return next season to continue in the role he didn’t get a chance to see through during the 2020-21 season. Only time will tell.