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Nobody pays Tim Duncan any mind.
He's the four-time champ everyone takes for granted. He's the top-10 player of all time who bores fans. He is the epitome of the sportsman who every parent hopes their children can become when they first sign them up for tee ball.
Now, he is writing his swan song. But somehow, as he is supposed to be fading into the twilight, he is playing the best basketball he has in years—and soon people will be forced to take notice.
He is scoring more, per 36 minutes, than he has since 2007. By the same metric, he is rebounding better than he has since 2008. If you look at the total percentage of defensive boards he is grabbing while he is on the floor, this is—unbelievably—the best season of his career.
That mimics his ability to block shots: he has never swatted more attempts away than the 3.0 blocks per game he is now averaging per 36 minutes.
Statistics and individual accolades have never defined Duncan, of course. These numbers, while impressive, are just trivial facts. But they are illustrative of just how spry, fit and healthy he has been this season, which is something that has not always been the case in recent years.
His coach, Gregg Popovich, recently told the Dallas Morning News how this has helped Duncan have a larger impact on the San Antonio Spurs' success than he has in some time.
He was never a leaper, or Mr. Quick. But he’s driving by people. He’s pivoting, starting and stopping better than he ever has. All those things. He’s playing better than he has probably in the last two, three or four years.
Right now, most people aren't talking about the Spurs as true title contenders. San Antonio is just that, however, and barring any health setbacks, Duncan will once again have a huge say in how an NBA season is remembered.