Tim Duncan remains in San Antonio
There was never a question of whether or not Tim Duncan would retire a Spur. The question was whether or not Duncan would retire at the end of this year fresh off of winning his fifth title. RealGM reports:
Tim Duncan has decided to opt into the final season of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs, worth approximately $10.3 million.
Duncan will revisit his future with the Spurs next summer.
There had been reports earlier on Monday that Duncan may sign a new contract with the Spurs in order to reduce his 14-15 salary.
Adrian Wojnarowski further confirms:
Yahoo Sources: San Antonio's Tim Duncan has decided to exercise his $10.3M option on the 2014-'15 season. http://t.co/FqxDShTR1R
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 23, 2014
Duncan has been the gold standard of stability and winning during his 17 year career with San Antonio. He along with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have been part of what is arguably the best franchise in sports in the modern era. If this Spurs team has proved one thing this past year, it’s that age is merely a number. The Spurs are still contenders.
Should the rest of the NBA be worried?
Yes, absolutely. In my mind, as of now, the Spurs are still the favorite to win the title next year. What other teams really need to worry about is how they can build a team good enough to counter the Spurs. They certainly are beatable and there are other threats to the Grizzlies in particular such as the Oklahoma City Thunder. There are a few things, however, that other teams and specifically the Grizzlies need to focus on this coming off-season if they want to beat the Spurs:
- Post and perimeter defense are essential- The Grizzlies have this part down pat, it’s just a matter of holding onto the right players and adding others to compliment the current roster. The Spurs do a few things especially well, and Tim Duncan is still an elite post presence. This then opens up the lane for slashers like Parker and Ginobili. If they are unable to score down low then they can kick it out to the perimeter to one of their many three point shooters. This is a big reason why teams need to be able to defend both inside and out to beat the league’s elite.
- Run the fast break-Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard are two of the few elite athletes on the Spurs and while the rest of the team isn’t slow, this is one area where age is catching up with them. If you can move the ball up and down the court quickly, and can recover on defense right after, then you can wear down the Spurs. They like to run a half court game, as do the Grizzlies for the most part, so picking up another player that can help run the break would be helpful in beating San Antonio.
- The Grizzlies cannot abandon their core-Keeping together the current core and adding pieces that help fulfill the two prior points will be key to Memphis’ title contention. The other thing that the Grizzlies must add is three point shooting role players. The Spurs have won by keeping a consistent core together and the Grizzlies should look to do the same. Other teams such as the Heat have won in a different manner, but a small market team like Memphis has to use their assets to the best of their abilities.
The Spurs keeping Duncan only further keeps them in the hunt for the Larry O’Brien trophy next year. That being said, this also lays the groundwork for what Memphis needs to do in order to contend. Following the above points along with using their current pieces will allow the Grizzlies to build and climb to the top of the Southwest division sooner rather than later. Duncan has had a hall of fame career and is arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, power forwards of all-time. And even though he is still a great player, he is entering into the twilight of his career. The Grizzlies need to capitalize on this situation, but they also need to be cautious of the Spurs along the way.