Tim Duncan: A Career Retrospective
 

1997 - 98

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Tim Duncan poses for a photo after being selected by the San Antonio Spurs at the 1997 NBA Draft in New York, New York. Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images

With The First Pick...

The Spurs won the 1997 Draft Lottery, and it didn’t take long for San Antonians to fall in love with Tim Duncan. He helped the Spurs go 56-26 for the season, setting an NBA record with a 36-win improvement from 1996-97.

Named the NBA’s Rookie of the Month for every month of the season, Duncan was the first rookie named to the All-NBA First Team since Larry Bird in 1980. He also finished fifth in MVP voting and led the NBA with 57 double-doubles, 10 more than any other player that season.

1997-98: Spurs Draft Duncan, Season Highlights

1998 - 99

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrates during the San Antonio Spurs Parade on the Riverwalk to celebrate the 1999 NBA Championship on June 27, 1999 in San Antonio, Texas. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Champions

Thanks to a dominant run through the playoffs, the Larry O’Brien trophy took its first trip to the San Antonio River Walk. The Spurs defeated the New York Knicks 4-1 in the NBA Finals and Duncan was named Finals MVP, averaging 27.4 points and 14.0 rebounds for the series.

After the Spurs began the lockout-shortened season with a 6-8 record, they went 31-5 for the rest of the regular season and continued to roll through the postseason. Only the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers and 1983 Philadelphia 76ers went through the playoffs with a better winning percentage than the Spurs’ 15-2 record.

1998-99: Spurs First Championship, Duncan Finals MVP

1999 - 00

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Shaquille O'Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs pose for a portrait with the MVP award after being chosen co-winners during the 2000 NBA All-Star game at The Arena in Oakland on February 13, 2000 in Oakland, California. Andy Hayt/ NBAE/ Getty Images

The Big Fundamental

Selected to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team, Duncan was also named co-MVP of the 2000 All-Star Game along with Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq grabbed the MVP Trophy, saying to Duncan, “you already have one of those rings, so I’m taking the trophy.”

Teammate Sean Elliott returned to play in March after undergoing an offseason kidney transplant and the Spurs finished second in the Midwest Division. But Duncan missed the end of the regular season and the playoffs because of a knee injury and the Spurs were eliminated in the first round.

1999-2000: Duncan Named All Star Game MVP

2000 - 01

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Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks elbows in to steal the ball from Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Playoff Round Two game at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas. Tom Hauck/Allsport

Return and Rebound

A free agent in the Summer of 2000, Duncan chose to stay with the Spurs. He later cited his trust and relationship with coach Gregg Popovich as a major factor. Recovered from knee surgery, Duncan started all 82 games and finished second in MVP voting, leading the league with 66 double-doubles. The Spurs had the best record in the NBA at 58-24 and also led the league in attendance at the Alamodome.

The Spurs reached the Western Conference Finals and Duncan averaged 24.4 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 blocks in the playoffs, leading the Spurs in all categories.

2000-01: Duncan Stays With Spurs

2001 - 02

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Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs shows the MVP Trophy to Spurs' Head Coach Gregg Popovich at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on May 9, 2002. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

M-V-P

Ranking in the top five in the NBA in points, rebounds and blocks, Duncan was named the league MVP.

Duncan joined David Robinson as the second Spur to win an MVP award and he became the sixth player in NBA history named to the All-NBA First Team in his first five seasons in the league.

The Spurs were joined by rookie point guard Tony Parker and had a 58-24 regular-season record as Duncan became the 14th player in NBA history to score more than 2,000 points (2,089) and grab more than 1,000 rebounds (1,042) in a season.

On Dec. 26, Duncan scored a career-high 53 points against Dallas.

2001-02: Duncan Highlights

2002 - 03

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots from the paint over Rodney Rogers #54 and Dikembe Mutombo #55 of the New Jersey Nets during game six of the 2003 NBA Finals on June 15, 2003 at the SBC Center in San Antonio, Texas. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

In The Clutch

David Robinson received the perfect sendoff as the Spurs won their second NBA Championship. Robinson and Duncan stood side-by-side as Duncan raised the Finals MVP trophy and Robinson held the Larry O’Brien trophy in one of the most memorable moments in Spurs history.

Duncan won the NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP awards n the first year of the AT&T Center (then the SBC Center) and the rookie year for guard Manu Ginobili. The Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets in six games and Duncan had 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and 8 blocks in the championship-clinching game, just two blocks short of the first playoff quadruple-double in NBA history.

2002-03: Spurs Win Second Ring, Duncan Named Finals MVP

2003 - 04

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Tim Duncan #21 of the Western Conference All-Stars shoots against the Eastern Conference All-Stars during the 2004 All-Star Game on February 15, 2004 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Title Defense

The Spurs led the league in defense, allowing 84.3 points per game, and held opponents to a .409 field goal percentage, the third-lowest total all-time behind the 1998-99 Spurs and 1998-99 Knicks. Duncan averaged 2.7 blocks a game and was named to the All-Defense Team for the seventh straight season.

After a 9-10 start to the season adjusting to life without Robinson, the Spurs reeled off a 13-game and 11-game winning streak on the way to a 57-25 record, but the season ended in the second round of the playoffs.

Duncan represented Team USA in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

2003-04: Duncan Highlight Reel

2004 - 05

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Finals MVP Tim Duncan (facing) #21 and Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate winning the 2005 NBA Championship with the Spurs 81-74 win against the Detroit Pistons in Game Seven of the 2005 NBA Finals. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Game 7

The Spurs’ third NBA championship and Duncan’s third NBA Finals MVP award came down to Game 7 against the defending champion Detroit Pistons.

Duncan erupted for 17 of his 25 points in the second half of Game 7 to lead the Spurs to an 81-74 win. Duncan missed 12 of the last 16 games of the regular season with a right ankle injury, and was hobbled at times in the playoffs. He still averaged 23.6 points and 12.4 rebounds in the postseason.

“He put his team on his shoulders and carried them to a championship,” Pistons center Ben Wallace said. “That's what the great players do.”

2004-05: Spurs Win Third Championship, Duncan Earns Third Finals MVP

2005 - 06

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during a game against the Phoenix Suns at AT&T Center on March 17, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. Chris Birck/NBAE via Getty Images

Playing Through Pain

Although Duncan spent the entire season dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, he still led the Spurs to a then-franchise-record 63-19 season.

Duncan fought through the injury and averaged 34.8 minutes in 80 games. He was named to the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams. Popovich won his 500th career game on March 2, 2006, becoming the fourth-fastest coach in NBA history to reach the milestone.

The Spurs were eliminated in Game 7 of the second round against Dallas. In the Game 7, Duncan had a playoff career-high 41 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.

2005-06: Duncan's Eighth All Star Game

2006 - 07

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Tim Duncan #21 and head Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs pose for a photo with the Larry O'Brien Championship trophy after they won the 2007 NBA Championship with their 83-82 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Four of the NBA Finals at the Quicken Loans Arena on June 14, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Connect Four

Back in top form, Duncan won his fourth ring in his 10th season by helping the Spurs sweep LeBron James and Cleveland in the NBA Finals. While Tony Parker was named Finals MVP, Duncan averaged 18.3 points and 11.5 rebounds for the Finals.

The Spurs’ most intense series came two rounds before against Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. Duncan averaged 26.8 points, 13.7 rebounds and 4.2 blocks for the series as the Spurs won in six games.

He was named to the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams for the 10th time, and was a First-Team selection for both for the seventh time.

2006-07: Duncan Wins Fourth Championship with Spurs

2007 - 08

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs before the game against the Boston Celtics in an NBA at the AT&T Center on March 17, 2008 in San Antonio, Texas. D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images

Duncan For Three

Among thousands of dunks, layups and mid-range elbow jumpers in his incredibly successful 19-season career, one of his most celebrated shots may be the one that was out of the ordinary. With 3.0 seconds left in overtime in an opening round playoff series against Phoenix, Duncan hit a 3-pointer to tie the game and force a second overtime. They were three of Duncan’s 40 points that night as the Spurs won 117-115.

The Spurs defeated Phoenix in five games and came back from a 3-1 deficit to eliminate New Orleans in the second round to reach the Western Conference Finals.

2007-08: Duncan's Clutch 3-Pointer Against Phoenix

2008 - 09

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs is shown during the game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on February 2, 2009 in Oakland, California. Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Model of Consistency

Another mark of consistency came in the Spurs’ 10th straight season with 50 or more wins. They have since extended that streak to 17 seasons, the longest in NBA history.

No other NBA team has had a streak of 50 wins longer than 12 seasons, and the Spurs’ 19-season streak of a .600 win percentage or higher is the longest in the four major sports.

The Spurs finished 54-28 as Duncan averaged a double-double for the 12th straight season with 19.3 points and 10.7 rebounds. Duncan had 49 double-doubles for the season, including 28 20-point, 10-rebound games.

2008-09: Tim Duncan and Bill Russell

2009 - 10

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts during the game against the Orlando Magic on March 17, 2010 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

More Milestones

Duncan scored his 20,000th point on Jan. 22 against Houston, becoming the seventh player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 2,000 blocked shots.

Duncan was named to the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams for the 13th time in his 13th season, becoming the first player in league history to earn the honors in each of his first 13 seasons. David Robinson held the previous record of being named to both teams in his first seven seasons.

The Spurs had a 50-32 record, reaching the second round of the playoffs.

2009-2010: Duncan Scores his 20,000th Point

2010 - 11

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs posts up against Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Forever An All-Star

Duncan appeared in his 13th NBA All-Star game and made his 12th consecutive All-Star start on Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He made 15 All-Star appearances for his career, with the last one coming in 2015. True to form, Duncan nearly averaged a double-double in All-Star games with 9.3 points and 9.1 rebounds.

On Dec. 12, Duncan played his 1,000th game with the Spurs going 707-293 in those games. The only other players with more wins through 1,000 games are Tony Parker (718) and Scottie Pippen (715).

The Spurs went 61-21 for the season, but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

2010-11: Best of Duncan's Season

2011 - 12

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Daniel Green #4 gives teammate Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs a high five while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

20 In A Row

Despite a lockout shortening the season to 66 games, the Spurs still managed to get their 50th victory in their last game of the season, tying Chicago for the best record in the league.

The Spurs closed the regular season with 10 wins and won their first 10 playoff games as well. They swept Utah, the Los Angeles Clippers and went ahead 2-0 against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals before the Thunder came back to win the series.

It also marked the rookie season of Kawhi Leonard, who the Spurs acquired in a 2011 Draft Night trade with Indiana.

2011-12: The Best Tim Duncan HEB Commercial Moments

2012 - 13

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Head Coach Gregg Popovich talks to Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs before the game against the Miami Heat prior to Game Seven of the 2013 NBA Finals on June 20, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Heartbreak

For as much success as Duncan and the Spurs have experienced, they’ve also faced excruciating losses and had to grow from them.

After a 58-24 season, the Spurs rolled through the Western Conference playoffs, sweeping the Lakers, defeating Golden State in six games and sweeping Memphis to face Miami in the NBA Finals.

Duncan averaged 18.9 points and 12.1 rebounds in the Finals, including 30 points and 17 rebounds in Game 6, but Miami prevailed in seven games. At the age of 37, Duncan posted 11 playoff double-doubles to lead the NBA.

2012-13: Duncan's Black Jack Speed Shop

2013 - 14

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Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrates winning the NBA Finals after Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Beautiful Game

The Spurs responded from the 2013 Finals with a 13-1 start, a 19-game winning streak in March and a 62-20 regular season record. When the playoffs began, Duncan went to the front of the locker room and wrote “16” on the whiteboard: the number of wins the Spurs had left.

They defeated a tough first-round opponent in Dallas in seven games, then Portland in five and Oklahoma City in six to earn a Finals rematch against the Heat.

“The Beautiful Game” Spurs hit their peak in June, as they passed the ball 472 more times than the Heat in the 2014 Finals. Duncan averaged 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds for the playoffs and celebrated as Kawhi Leonard was named MVP.

2013-14: Duncan and Spurs Win Fifth Title

2014 - 15

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Tony Parker #9 Manu Ginobili #20 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs before the game against the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at the AT&T Center on April 24, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

This is 39

Duncan became one of five players in NBA history to receive 15 All-NBA selections, one of five with 15 All-Star selections, and the only player in NBA history on the All-Defensive team 15 times. He became the first player in NBA history to average at least 13.0 points and 9.0 rebounds for an entire season at the age of 38 or older. He also was named the 2014-15 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year.

The Spurs had a 55-27 season, but lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round in seven games. Duncan had four games in the series with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

“I continue to be amazed by Tim Duncan,” Popovich said. “He was our most consistent player in the playoffs at age 39."

2014-15: Duncan Gets His 5th Ring

2015 - 16

One Last Ride

Duncan helped the Spurs set a franchise record with a 67-15 season, and tie an NBA record by going 40-1 at home.

He was second in the NBA in defensive rating at 95.7 and helped the Spurs lead the NBA in defense with 92.9 points allowed per game.

In a season filled with milestones, Duncan became the third player in NBA history to win 1,000 games and the first to do it with one team. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili also set the record for most wins by a trio with 575 regular season wins and 126 playoff wins.

He also passed David Robinson to move into No. 5 on the all-time blocks list (3,020), passed Karl Malone for No. 6 in rebounds (15,091) and passed John Havlicek for No. 14 in points (26,496).

2015-16: Tim Duncan Turns the Big 4-0

By The Numbers

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