Tim Duncan in 2014 and Beyond
The same dynamic of Duncan letting teammates get theirs was visible during the Spurs' NBA 2013-2014 title run. This team was clearly the deepest and had a bunch of guys shine in their roles like Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, and Patty Mills, but Ginobili was a shell of his former self.
Also, despite winning finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard was not Kawhi Leonard yet, averaging only 12.8 points per game throughout the playoffs.
Once again, the Spurs asserted dominance over a Lebron-led team to the extent where Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili got significant periods of rest in the Finals and needed fewer touches, enabling others to shine.
But while it was truly a team effort, Duncan, yet again, was first among equals, serving as the offensive and defensive foundation, getting the team past difficult matchups such as the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
But Kawhi guarded LeBron, you say? That may be true and is certainly impressive, but what no one cares to admit is that James still went off that series, aside from the Game 1 "LeCramp" game. Perfectly understandable, but also a far cry from the "passing of the torch" moment people make the series out to be. This would ultimately come nearly two years later.
Am I missing one? Yes, and it's intentional. The 2003 Spurs were as dominant an individual performance as possible. Duncan averaged over 24 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks for a team that only scored in the mid-90s and had one of the most legendary NBA Finals games of all time.
Robinson was on his last legs and retired after the Finals, Ginobili was a rookie constantly getting yanked from games, and the next best scorer on the team was a streaky Stephen Jackson.
So did Duncan benefit from some good teammates? Absolutely. But for every Parker, Robinson, Ginobili, and Kawhi Duncan played with, there was a Rasho Nesterovic, Fabricio Oberto, or 35-year-old Marie Ellie playing meaningful minutes who were led to championships as Tim Duncan's "help."
So PLEASE, let’s put this one to bed – you’re better than that, guys! And so is Tim Duncan – WAY better.
This article is part of Tim Duncan week. You can find then next article, all about fan's favorite memories of Tim, here.