To say the career of San Antonio Spurs’ power forward Tim Duncan has been a success would be an understatement. There’s a rumor that if you write each one of his accomplishments on a 3×5 piece of paper and lay them side-by-side, they would circle the world ten times over. 14-time All-Star, NBA Rookie of the Year, two-time MVP and four-time NBA Champion with the Spurs, where he earned Finals MVP three times. Those are some of the big ones, but the list of accolades goes all the way back to his days at Wake Forest, where he was the 1997 College Basketball Player of the Year. In his 17th season — at age 37 — Duncan has helped guide the Spurs to a 33-13 record, while producing top-notch fantasy basketball numbers along the way.
“The Big Fundamental”, as Duncan is known, started the 2013-14 campaign off rather slowly. During the first month of the season (including one game in October), he shot an uncharacteristic 42.5 percent from the floor, while posting averages of 12.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. At that time, many Duncan owners were scrambling to get value for him in a trade. Hopefully some of them decided to stick it out though, because he has come back with a vengeance.
Timmy to the Rescue
The Spurs have been decimated by injuries this season. Starting center Tiago Splitter (who is expected back this weekend), small forward Kawhi Leonard, and shooting guards Danny Green and Manu Ginobili have all missed time. Normally coach Gregg Popovich likes to give Duncan some planned days of rest, but he hasn’t really been allowed that luxury this year. Instead, Duncan has been forced to take a more significant offensive role — and fantasy owners are not complaining. After taking just 11.6 shots per game over his first 15 contests, Duncan stepped up his offense in December, scoring 16.1 points, while jacking up 13.3 shots in 14 games. Not only was he scoring more, but his work under the basket drastically improved, increasing his rebounding by 60 percent to 11.9 boards during the month of December. He also added 10 double-doubles, helping the Spurs go 11-4 to close out 2013.
Steady in San Antonio
January has been just as kind to Duncan. His numbers (15.8 points, 10.7 rebounds) are almost equivalent to his December totals and he’s steadily improved his field goal percentage. He’s shooting 53.9 percent for the month — compared to 48.4 in Dec. and 42.5 in Oct./Nov. The major caveat to take away from this is that Duncan has only missed three games all season and has yet to miss one in January. The DNPs will come, but right now his fantasy owners can enjoy the Big Fundamental Express.
His season averages now stand at 14.8 points (48.2 FG%), 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. He’s dishing out 2.9 assists and shooting 71.8 percent from the free throw line — above average stats from the power forward position. Basketball Monster.com has him ranked 40th overall on the year, and he narrowly missed the top 10 in my latest player rankings, clocking in as the No. 11 power forward in fantasy basketball: